ESCMID warns that Europe may surpass one million deaths due to ineffective antibiotics by 2025
The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) - an organization that explores risk assessment, knowledge sharing and best practices in the fight against infectious disease - has warned that Britain and Europe collectively could face more than a million deaths in an impending "Antibiotic Armageddon" unless more is done to develop new cures, rapid diagnostics and preventative measures to combat the spread of drug resistant diseases.
Experts at ESCMID issued the warning ahead of its annual conference next week - Copenhagen, April 25-28th- adding that without more money being spent on developing new drugs and the rationing of existing supplies, deaths across Europe could pass the grim milestone of a million by 2025. In Britain alone an estimated 10,000 people die a year and experts at ESCMID fear this number could triple - or even quadruple within the next 10 years.
Currently, the best available figures were published back in 2009 and estimated that around 25-30,000 Europeans die each year due to antimicrobial resistance and the total number of deaths is now over 400,000. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will make 2013 figures available later this year. However, due to new outbreaks with almost impossible to treat microorganisms, ESCMID predicts that the current (true) mortality rate is almost certain to have risen significantly. Furthermore, ESCMID predicts that within the next 10 years, annual deaths in Europe could top 50,000 per year. The global position is even more critical, and by the year 2050, deaths per year are projected to rise to 10 million, surpassing major killers such as cancer, diabetes and road traffic accidents.
The worst affected nations in Europe are Greece, Spain and Italy, which are facing an imminent antibiotic Armageddon, as an increasing number of bacteria within these countries are now resistant to most, or all, forms of known antibiotics. ESCMID cautions that this is not simply down to the lack of new antibiotics, but is being exacerbated by poor monitoring and control of drugs supply, and insufficient infection control in many hospitals and institutions.
This year's annual congress will again bring this issue into acute focus and the society is calling on governments and the pharma community to remain vigilant in the fight.
ESCMID states that it is vital that new investments are made and we increase implementation of infection prevention and control strategies. Improved education and training is demanded, alongside further funding of R&D across new antibiotics, and crucially, increasing the durability of existing antibiotics through prudent use and antimicrobial stewardship.
The European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing - organized by ESCMID - functions as the breakpoint committee of EMA (European Medicines Agency) and ECDC, and will be announcing an update across European nations at this year's congress.