The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is predicting that only a few dollars per year would be able to eliminate three quarters of the estimated deaths due to so-called superbugs-bacteria that have evolved to resist antibiotics.
The new OECD report estimates that an antimicrobial-resistant infection is about to kill 30,000 Americans by the year 2050, nearly as many people who die from motor vehicle accidents. The financial costs of 33 developed countries included in the study could reach as much as $ 3.5 billion a year.
This year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned of 221 strains of "lair of bacteria" that it discovered. Bacteria with happy (those) mutations can survive in the treatment of antibiotics, leaving the generation of an outdated drug-resistant bacteria to produce even more devastating effects on humans.
Due to several factors, including the excessive use of antibiotics in medical practice and livestock treatment, drug resistance has grown rapidly over the last few decades. Last year, the World Health Organization listed 12 such strains, categorizing them as a matter of priority and urgency.
Antimicrobial resistance costs more than the flu, more than HIV, more than tuberculosis, and it will cost even more if countries fail to take action to address this, "Michele Cecchini, OECD Public Health Director, warned in an interview with Agence France Press. The poorest countries face major threats. Some 60% of bacteria are already resistant to at least one drug. The richer countries are about 5%.
The OECD invites rich countries to introduce five simple reforms to save lives in their country and pioneer methods that are applied in other countries. First of all: better hand washing and sanitation among healthcare workers. Next: Be careful about antibiotic prescribing practices. Third, for a quicker check to see if the respiratory infection is a virus or a bacterium, to avoid antibiotics, if they do not give anything. Fourthly, by delaying the availability of antibiotics for three days, most viral infections will then be improved. Finally, a public awareness campaign.
The additional call for the One-Health approach, which recognizes that human health is linked to animal health, both on farms and in the wild, may be just as important, and that full health care should relate to animals along with humans.
All of these approaches require national health authorities to treat private interests that are more likely to ignore this problem. The 2016 Reuters study showed how the American authorities are not able to force healthcare providers to report antibiotic-resistant cases, making it more difficult to track and overcome the problem. Instead of acknowledging that a grass-resistant infection killed his baby, one mortal mother said, "They simply threw a bunch of words in the death certificate."