Emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria has become a public health concern, raising the burden of five types of infections in the European
Union and in the European Economic Area (EU/EEA), according to a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control study.
The authors said "the estimated burden of infections with
antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU/EEA is substantial compared to
that of other infectious diseases, and increased since 2007. Strategies
to prevent and control antibiotic-resistant bacteria require
coordination at EU/EEA and global level.
‘Preventing the development of resistance to antibiotics is the need of the hour. Unnecessary usage of antibiotics without prescription should be avoided to prevent deaths.’
However, our study showed that
the contribution of various antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the overall
burden varies greatly between countries, thus highlighting the need for
prevention and control strategies tailored to the need of each EU/EEA
The study estimates that about 33000 people die each year as a
direct consequence of an infection due to bacteria resistant to
antibiotics and that the burden of these infections is comparable to
that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.
It also explains
that 75% of the burden of disease is due to healthcare-associated
infections (HAIs) and that reducing this through adequate infection
prevention and control measures, as well as antibiotic stewardship,
could be an achievable goal in healthcare settings.
Finally, the study shows that 39% of the burden is caused by
infections with bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotics such as
carbapenems and colistin. This is an increase from 2007 and is worrying
because these antibiotics are the last treatment options available. When
these are no longer effective, it is extremely difficult or, in many
cases, impossible to treat infections.