Approximately one million deaths were due to drug-resistant bacterial infections in 2019. In 2019, bacterial infections were the second leading cause of death behind heart disease. The study is based on the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) which provides estimates of mortality associated with 11 major infection types. These estimates were produced for 204 countries. The results reveal that bacterial AMR is a worldwide problem. However, there were major differences in the burdens of disease.
Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the highest mortality rate for bacterial infections. The mortality rate in these regions was 230 deaths per 100,000 population. This was followed by North America (230 per 100,000), South Asia (210 per 100,000) and Australasia (52 per 100,000).
The study found that there were 33 bacterial pathogens associated with more than 7.7 million deaths in 2019. These pathogens contributed to 13.6% of all global deaths. This represents a major public health problem. The most common bacterial pathogens were Staphylococcus aureus, E coli, K pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The study found that the five deadliest pathogens were associated with more than half of all deaths.
The most common site for bacterial AMR infections was the abdomen. This was followed by chest and bloodstream. Bacterial infections are relatively easier to treat than viral infections. However, the study found that bacterial AMR was associated with more deaths in areas with higher antibiotic consumption. This suggests that stronger health systems may be able to more effectively manage infections through antibiotic use and other control measures.
The study found that the age-standardized mortality rates associated with bacterial infections were low in high-income regions. However, the highest mortality rates were recorded in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The death rate associated with bacteria was lower in the high-income super-regions of Western Europe, North America and Australasia. This was largely because of a higher rate of mortality associated with HIV/AIDS.
Various factors contribute to the susceptibility of an individual to bacterial infections. For example, genetic makeup, nutritional status, and the environment all play a role in the body’s ability to protect itself against bacterial infections. These factors also determine the severity of the disease. The duration of exposure to an organism, as well as its pathogenicity, affect the number of people infected. The study found that each pathogen has a predilection to infect specific organs.
The most common pathogens responsible for the majority of AMR deaths were S pneumoniae, E coli, and Acinetobacter baumannii. These three pathogens were responsible for 17*5%, 19*9%, and 22*5% of all AMR deaths.
These studies are important to understanding the true magnitude of antimicrobial resistance in the world. They provide estimates for the mortality associated with specific pathogens, which can be used to guide the development of vaccines, strategies to prevent infections, and the availability of basic acute care services. The results will also guide the development of more effective strategies for reducing the number of bacterial infections worldwide.
Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem that is accelerating. The number of deaths associated with bacterial AMR is more than the number of deaths associated with malaria, HIV/AIDS, and heart disease.