A new analysis of the burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Europe estimates that drug-resistant bacteria were linked to more than half a million deaths in the region in 2019.
The study, published yesterday in The Lancet Public Health, found that, across the 53 countries of the World Health Organization's (WHO's) European Region, 541,000 deaths were associated with bacterial AMR, and 133,000 deaths were directly attributable to drug-resistant pathogens. The highest mortality rates both attributable to and associated with AMR were in Eastern Europe, followed by Central Europe.
The vast majority of AMR deaths were caused by seven bacterial pathogens, with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and aminopenicillin-resistant Escherichia coli among the primary culprits.
The study authors say the analysis provides the most detailed, comprehensive assessment to date of the AMR burden in Europe.
"The high levels of resistance for several important bacterial pathogens and pathogen–drug combinations, together with the high mortality rates associated with these pathogens, show that AMR is a serious threat to public health in the WHO European region," they wrote.