Resistant infections could kill 2.4 million people by 2050

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The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says antibiotic-resistant superbugs are “one of the biggest threats to modern medicine”.

The OECD says if nothing is done about drug resistance, superbugs could kill some 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia alone over the next 30 years.

The World Health Organization has warned that without drastic action, a post-antibiotic era where basic healthcare becomes life threatening due to risk of infection during routine operations could arrive over the next 30 years.

In a report released last month, the OECD said, “a short-term investment to stem the superbug tide would save lives and money”. It estimates that halting the rise of resistant infections would cost just $2 per person a year.

It proposes a “five-pronged assault” on antimicrobial resistance

(AMR), including promoting better hygiene, ending over-prescription of antibiotics, rapidly testing patients to ensure they get the right drug for infections, delaying antibiotic prescriptions and delivering mass media campaigns, reported Reuters.

Across the OECD, resistance to second and third-line antibiotics is expected to be 70 per cent higher in 2030 compared to AMR rates in 2005.

In low and middle-income countries, drug resistance is high and projected to grow rapidly. In Brazil, Indonesia and Russia, between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of infections are already drug resistant, compared to an OECD average of 17 per cent.

This article was originally published in the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association publication, Lamp.

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