A study from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that about 33,000 people die in the European Union/ European Economic Area (EU/EEA) each year as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
The study, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, also demonstrates that the burden of antibiotic-resistant infections has increased since 2007.
Based on data from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net), the study authors estimate that 671,689 (95% uncertainty interval 583,148-763,966) infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria occurred in the EU/EEA in 2015, of which 63.5 per cent (426,277) were healthcare-associated infections.
Antibiotic-resistant infections accounted for an estimated 33,110 deaths and 874,541 disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). The figures show that the burden associated with these infections (170 DALYs per 100,000 population) is similar to the combined burden of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV combined (183 DALYs per 100,000 population).
Worryingly, 39 per cent of the burden is caused by infections with bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotics such as carbapenems and colistin.
There were variations between countries, highlighting the need for prevention and control strategies tailored to the needs of each country, as well as coordination at EU/EEA and global level.