Overall Rates of Multi-drug Resistance in the U.S. and Worldwide

The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors antibiotic resistance worldwide using the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GlASS). The current WHO assessment is that antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance is present in every country worldwide with varying rates of prevalence that vary in different geographic locations.22 However, with the globalization of trade and travel, antibiotic resistance can commonly cross borders. The WHO estimates that there were 480,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in 2014, a form of tuberculosis that is resistant to the 2 most powerful anti-TB drugs.22 Globally, only half of MDR-TB patients were successfully treated.22 Additionally, it is estimated 7% and 20% of people starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV treatment have drug-resistant HIV in developing and developed countries, respectively.22 The second and third-line medication regimens required in these cases are 3-18 times more costly, respectively, than first line drugs.22

Each year in the U.S. at least 2.8 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria and over 35,000 people die as a result.23 Antibiotic resistance has been demonstrated shortly after antibiotic release in most cases. For example, after Penicillin’s discovery in 1928, an isolate of E. coli was identified that demonstrated resistance to the antibiotic in 1940.24 In response to this growing problem, a U.S. National Action Plan was published in 2015 and a 5-year plan was developed.25 As a part of the National Action Plan, surveillance efforts to track the emergence of resistant bacteria and development of collaborations with academic and healthcare partners have been prioritized to alter prescribing practices and decrease rates of development of antibiotic resistance.26

Figure 2. Predicted Deaths Related to Antibiotic Resistance in 2050 Compared to Other Causes.87
Chart showing predicted deaths related to antibiotic resistance in 2050.
  • AMR now – 700,000 (low estimate)
  • AMR in 2050 - 10 Million
  • Cancer – 8.2 million
  • Cholera – 100,000-120,000
  • Diabetes – 1.5 million
  • Diarrhoeal disease – 1.4 million
  • Measles – 130,000
  • Road traffic accidents – 1.2 million
  • Tetanus – 60,000
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