Antibiotic-resistant bacteria not only add life to the risk but also weigh on health systems: they can generate up to 3.5 billion dollars in annual expenses by 2050 in each OECD country, according to a report published Wednesday 7 November.
"These bacteria are more expensive than flu, AIDS, TB, and they will cost even more if the states do not act to solve this problem," said Michele Cechini, a public health specialist at AFP. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
According to him, Countries already spend an average of 10% of their health budget on the treatment of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
According to forecasts in the report, covering 33 of the 36 OECD countries, resistant bacteria could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia before 2050.
A separate study, published Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, reported 33,000 deaths attributable to these bacteria in 2015 in the European Union.
However, we could fight them with "easy action" at a reasonable cost according to the OECD: "Encourage better hygiene" (by encouraging, for example, washing hands), "stopping antibiotics" or further generalizing the fast-diagnostic tests to determine if an infection is viral (in which case antibiotics are useless) or bacterial.
According to the OECD, these measures would only cost USD 2 per person per year and prevent three quarters of deaths.
Investments in a major public health program that contain some of these measures can be written off in a year and would lead to savings of $ 4.8 billion a year, says OECD.
Health authorities, who begin with the World Health Organization (WHO), regularly draw attention to risk of overuse of antibiotics, which makes resistance to formidable bacteria. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk.
"In Brazil, Indonesia and Russia, between 40 and 60% of the infections are already resistant, compared to an average of 17% in OECD countries, "says the latter.
Even more worrying, "resistance to antibiotics in the second or third line is expected to be 70% higher in 2030 than 2005". These antibiotics are the ones to be used as a last resort when there is no other solution.