Resistant bacteria cost a lot of lives and money, warns OECD



Antibiotic-resistant bacteria not only pose a life-threatening risk, but also bind to health systems: they could to generate annual spending of $ 3.5 billion by 2050 in each OECD country according to a report released on Wednesday, 7 November.

"These bacteria are more expensive than influenza, AIDS, tuberculosis, and will cost even more if states do not try to solve this problem," said Michele Cechini, an expert on public health. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

According to him, countries are already spending an average of 10% of their health care budget on the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Estimates in the report, which concerns 33 out of 36 OECD countries, that the resistant bacteria could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia by 2050.

A separate study published on Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases was published 33 000 the number of deaths caused by these bacteria in 2015 in the European Union.

However, we could fight them with "simple measures" at moderate costs, according to the OECD: "Promote better hygiene" (encouraging, for example, washing hands), "stop excessive prescribing of antibiotics" or generalize rapid diagnostic tests to see if the infection is viral in which case the antibiotics are unnecessary) or bacterial.

According to the OECD, these measures would cost only $ 2 per person per year will prevent three quarters of death.

"Investing in a major public health program involving some of these measures could be written off in one year, leading to savings of $ 4.8 billion a year," says the OECD.

Health authorities, starting with the World Health Organization (WHO), regularly report the risk of excessive consumption of antibiotics, making it resistant to impressive bacteria. Small children and the elderly are particularly at risk.

"In Brazil, Indonesia and Russia, between 40 and 60% of infections are already resistant, compared to an average of 17% in OECD countries, "said the second.

Even more worrying is that "second or third order antibiotic resistance should be 70% higher in 2030 than in 2005". These antibiotics are the ones to be used as a last resort when there is no other solution.

(With AFP)


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