Antibiotic resistance: 750,000 deaths could be avoided each year – In the news

Antibiotic resistance: 750,000 deaths could be avoided each year – In the news
Antibiotic resistance: 750,000 deaths could be avoided each year – In the news

May 24, 2024

An alarming new report from the scientific journal The Lancet calls for urgent global action to combat antibiotic resistance. Every year, 750,000 deaths could be avoided worldwide through concrete actions.

Every year on the planet, more than 7 million deaths are caused by bacterial infections, or 1 in 8 deaths. And of these, nearly 5 million are associated with bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics.

Access to effective antibiotics is essential for patients around the world », recalls in the columns of The Lancet Professor Iruka Okeke of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. “ Effective antibiotics prolong life, reduce disability, limit healthcare costs (…) However, antimicrobial resistance is on the rise – accelerated in particular by the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the Covid-19 pandemic – threatening thus the backbone of modern medicine and already leading to deaths and illnesses that would once have been avoided. »

The report highlights how infants, children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses are most vulnerable to antibiotic resistance. The latter therefore constitutes a major threat to the survival of newborns: a third of deaths are due to infections and half of them following sepsis.

It also compromises the safety of common medical procedures such as organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy and the treatment of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes…

So, how to act?

For Professor Joseph Lewnard of the University of California at Berkeley and co-author of the report, “ a focus on interventions proven to be effective in preventing infections must be at the heart of global action. »

According to the authors, the application of existing infection prevention methods could save 750,000 deaths each year. So :

  • Improving prevention in health establishmentsincluding better hand hygiene, more regular cleaning and sterilization of equipment, could save up to 337,000 lives per year;
  • Universal access to drinking water and effective sanitation in community settings could prevent approximately 247,800 deaths per year;
  • The extension of the deployment of certain pediatric vaccinessuch as pneumococcal vaccines which help protect against pneumonia and meningitis, but also the introduction of new vaccines, such as vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, which causes bronchiolitis in particular) for pregnant women , could save 181,500 lives per year.

This urgent question on antibiotic resistance will be addressed at the next United Nations General Assembly in September 2024. The authors hope that the solutions listed in this report will make it possible to achieve their “10-20-30” goal by 2030, to know :

  • Reduce by 10% mortality due to antibiotic resistance;
  • Reduce by 20% inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans;
  • Reduce by 30% inappropriate use of antibiotics in animals.
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