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Superbug infections among highest in Europe

by Brendan de Beer, in News · 08-11-2018 09:49:00 · 0 Comments

Superbug infections resistant to multiple antibiotics kill around 33,000 people a year in Europe, with Portugal near the top of that list, research published in the Lancet has shown.

Superbug infections among highest in Europe

Health experts, who compiled the report, warn the burden of these diseases is comparable to that of flu, tuberculosis and HIV combined. 
The study, released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says Portugal is placed fourth on this list of 31 European nations in terms of mortality.
According to these figures, there were just over 24,000 infections in Portugal in 2015, with 1,158 resulting in fatalities.
The report, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found specifically that in addition to a substantial burden due to infections with carbapenem-resistant or colistin-resistant bacteria, Portugal had a substantial burden due to MRSA infections.
Topping the list of all infections is Italy, followed by Greece and Romania.
Researchers also expressed concern that numbers have been steadily rising and are higher when compared with data published in 2007.
The ECDC study is aimed at estimating the burden of five types of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria of public health concern in the 31 nations surveyed when combining the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA).
The burden of disease is measured in number of cases, attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life years.
These estimates are based on data from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network data from 2015.
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.
The 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 country”.
The study estimates that about 33,110 people die each year as a direct consequence of an infection due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Overall, there were 672,000 reported cases of infection in Europe in 2015.
It also explains that 75 percent of the burden of disease is due to healthcare-associated infections and that reducing this through adequate infection prevention and control measures, as well as antibiotic stewardship, could be an achievable goal in healthcare settings.
Specialists estimate that around 70 per cent of bacteria that can cause infection are already resistant to at least one antibiotic that is commonly used to treat them.
This has made the evolution of superbugs that can evade one or multiple drugs one of the biggest threats currently facing medicine.
Finally, the study shows that 39 percent 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 researchers say this 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”, the report warns.
The study was developed by experts at ECDC and the Burden of AMR Collaborative Group, and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The results of this study are also used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to estimate the economic burden of antibiotic resistance.

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Edition 1500
10 November 2018
Edition: 1500

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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