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First comprehensive analysis: 1.2 million people died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Christian Fernsby |
First comprehensive analysis of global impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) estimates resistance itself caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019 - more deaths than HIV/AIDS or malaria - and that antimicrobial-resistant infections played a role in 4.95 million deaths.

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The analysis of 204 countries and territories, published in The Lancet, reveals that AMR is now a leading cause of death worldwide, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.

It shows that many hundreds of thousands of deaths now occur due to common, previously treatable infections – such as lower respiratory and bloodstream infections – because the bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment.

The report highlights an urgent need to scale up action to combat AMR, and outlines immediate actions for policymakers that will help save lives and protect health systems.

These include optimising the use of existing antibiotics, taking greater action to monitor and control infections, and providing more funding to develop new antibiotics and treatments.

With resistance varying so substantially by country and region, improving the collection of data worldwide is essential to help us better track levels of resistance and equip clinicians and policymakers with the information they need to address the most pressing challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance.

"We identified serious data gaps in many low-income countries, emphasising a particular need to increase laboratory capacity and data collection in these locations,' said study co-author Professor Christiane Dolecek, GRAM scientific lead based in Oxford University’s Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health and the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU).


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