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Thousands at risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

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Nearly 100,00 could die in the next thirty years Nearly 100,00 could die in the next thirty years

Nearly 100,000 people in the UK could die in the next 30 years unless steps are is taken to stem the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbug infections, a report has warned

The report, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), cautions that resistance proportions for eight antibiotic-bacterium pairs in the United Kingdom have decreased from 13.5% in 2005 to 9% in 2015. The report also speculates that thisto 11% by 2030, should current trends in antibiotic consumption, population and economic growth continue into the future. Resistance proportions in the UK were lower than the OECD average in 2015 of 17%.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said: ‘Antibiotic resistant infections present a global health challenge, leading to the equivalent of thousands of years lost due to ill health and disability or early death each year in this country and internationally.

The OECD report proposes a policy package combining stewardship programmes, enhanced environmental hygiene, mass media campaigns, and rapid diagnostic testing. They say that this could avert 1600 deaths a year and save £124 million per year in the United Kingdom.

‘In order to tackle antibiotic resistance, we need to preserve antibiotics for when we really need them. We are calling on the public to join us in tackling antibiotic resistance by listening to your GP, pharmacist or nurse’s advice and only taking antibiotics when necessary,’ added Dr Hopkins.

‘We also need to drive down infections and we are committed to reducing infections in both community and hospital healthcare settings, and are working with front-line NHS staff, NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care to do this.’

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