The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found in an analysis that multi-drug resistant superbugs result in 33,000 deaths every year across Europe.
The burden of these infections is said to be comparable to that of flu, tuberculosis and HIV combined.
According to the analysis, which covered the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, the impact of drug-resistant superbugs infections has grown since 2007.
The burden was found to be highest in infants, followed by people aged 65 years or older, with Italy and Greece recording the most impact.
A statement from ECDC read: “The estimated burden of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and EEA is substantial compared with that of other infectious diseases, and has increased since 2007.
“Strategies to prevent and control antibiotic-resistant bacteria require coordination at EU and EEA and global level, and interventions that are tailored to national and local challenges.”
The analysis measured the health burden of five types of infection caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria using European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) 2015 data.
The burden was measured in number of cases, attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs).
Out of the total infections cases, 63.5% were associated with health care, 72.4% were directly attributable to deaths and 74.9% were DALYs per 100 000 population.
These statistics are said to indicate predominance of the health effects of infections by drug-resistant superbugs in various health-care settings, including hospitals.
Study findings, which have been published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, also revealed affect of antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections on all age groups.
ECDC concluded: “In the long term, research should be done to better understand the factors underlying the estimations of EARS-Net country coverage, such as catchment population, patient case-mix, laboratory capacity, and the appropriateness and frequency of collection of blood cultures.”