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Infectious disease

Just $2 per person per year could help stop superbugs, report says

by Andrea Widener
November 22, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 47

Around 2.4 million people in Europe, North America, and Australia could die from antimicrobial-resistant infections by 2050 unless steps are taken to stop the epidemic, a new study says. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic group, projects that most of those deaths could be avoided if countries spend money now on a public health campaign that would cost each country U.S. $2 per year per resident. OECD suggests a five-pronged push to promote better hygiene, end overprescription of antibiotics, delay prescription of antibiotics, employ rapid testing for people with infections, and create a related mass-media campaign. Those moves would save $4.8 billion per year and an estimated 1.6 million lives by 2050, the report says. Of the 33 countries OECD included in its analysis, the U.S., Italy, and France face the largest projected number of deaths from antimicrobial resistance per year at almost 30,000, while southern European countries face the highest mortality rate.


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