People are dying from common infections that were once treatable because the bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment
More than 1.2 million people died worldwide in 2019 as a direct result of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the largest study on this topic to date.
This figure is equivalent to an average of almost 3,500 deaths every day .
The poorest countries are the most affected, but resistance to antimicrobial drugs is a threat to global health, including Latin America, according to the report.
The report calculated that, overall, such resistance played some role in diseases responsible for nearly five million deaths in 2019, including the 1.27 million deaths caused directly by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
A 2014 study on the subject estimated that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) would cause 10 million deaths per year in 2050, Mexican scientist Gisela Robles Aguilar, a researcher in the global burden of disease and resistance to antimicrobials, explained to BBC Mundo. antimicrobials at the Big Data Institute of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and one of the authors of the study.
“Now we know that we are much closer to reaching that figure than we thought since in 2019 we estimate that 4.95 million deaths were related to AMR.”
The authors of the study say that it is necessary to urgently invest in new drugs and use existing ones more responsibly.
The overuse of antibiotics for minor infections in recent years has led to them becoming less effective against serious infections.
People are dying from common infections that were once treatable because the bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment.
Children, the most vulnerable
The estimate of global deaths from resistant bacterial infections was based on an analysis of 204 countries by an international team of researchers led by the University of Washington in the United States.
Most deaths from resistant bacteria were due to lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, and bloodstream infections, which can cause sepsis.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or MRSA, was particularly deadly, according to the study.
This strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria has become resistant to several antibiotics, including penicillin and methicillin
Escherichia coli and other bacteria were also linked by the study to high levels of drug resistance.
The researchers say that young children are most at risk.
Approximately one in five deaths related to antibiotic resistance was among children under 5 years of age.
The highest number of deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (24 out of 100,000 deaths and 22 out of 100,000 respectively).
In Latin America
Of the 1.2 million deaths that were a direct consequence of infections by resistant bacteria, ” 89,100 occurred in Latin America in 2019 “, Robles Aguilar told BBC Mundo.
“The highest number of deaths was recorded in the central region of Latin America, made up of Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela, with 28,300 deaths directly attributable to AMR, and 109,000 deaths related to RAM.
“The countries of the Andean region, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, also face the challenge of combating antimicrobial resistance, since 11% of deaths from infection in these countries were caused by an organism resistant to antibiotics,” added the scientific.