Five types of bacteria — E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae, S. aureus and A. baumanii — caused nearly 6.8 million deaths in India in 2019, according to a study published in The Lancet. The analysis found that common bacterial infections were the second leading cause of death in 2019 and were associated with one in eight deaths worldwide. In 2019, 7.7 million (77 million) deaths were linked to 33 common bacterial infections, with five bacteria alone linked to more than half of all deaths, the researchers said.
The deadliest bacterial pathogens and types of infection varied by location and age, they said. Five bacteria E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae, S. aureus and A. baumanii — were found to be the deadliest in India, causing 6,78,846 (almost 6.8 lakh) deaths in 2019 alone, they found scientists. E. Coli was the deadliest pathogen, claiming 1,57,082 (1.57 lakh) lives in India in 2019, according to a study. Globally, bacterial infections were second only to coronary heart disease as the leading cause of death in 2019, an analysis has found, highlighting the need to reduce them as a global public health priority.
Building stronger health systems with greater diagnostic laboratory capacity, implementing control measures and optimizing antibiotic use is critical to reducing the burden of disease caused by common bacterial infections, the researchers said. “These new data reveal for the first time the full extent of the global public health problem posed by bacterial infections,” said Christopher Murray, co-author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Faculty of Medicine, USA.
“It is of the utmost importance to put these results on the radar of global health initiatives so that a deeper dive into these deadly pathogens can be made and appropriate investments can be made to reduce deaths and infections,” Murray said in a statement. While there are many estimates for pathogens such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, until now estimates of the burden of bacterial pathogens have been limited to a handful of specific pathogens and infection types, or focused only on specific populations, the researchers said.
More deaths were linked to the two deadliest pathogens – S. aureus and E. coli – than HIV/AIDS (864,000 deaths) in 2019, they said. A new study provides the first global estimates of mortality rates associated with 33 common bacterial pathogens and 11 major types of infections – known as infection syndromes – leading to sepsis deaths. Estimates were produced for all ages and genders in 204 countries and territories.
Using data and methods from the Global Burden of Disease 2019 and Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) studies, researchers used 343 million individual pathogen records and isolates to estimate deaths associated with each pathogen and type of infection responsible. Of the estimated 13.7 million infection-related deaths that occurred in 2019, 7.7 million were associated with the 33 bacterial pathogens studied.
Deaths linked to these bacteria accounted for 13.6 percent of all global deaths in 2019 and more than half of all sepsis-related deaths, the study said. The researchers found that more than 75 percent of the 7.7 million bacterial deaths occurred due to three syndromes: lower respiratory tract infection (LRI), bloodstream infection (BSI), and peritoneal and intra-abdominal infection (IAA).
Five pathogens — S. aureus, E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa — were responsible for 54.2 percent of the deaths among the bacteria studied, they said. The pathogen associated with the greatest number of deaths worldwide was S. aureus with 1.1 million deaths. The study shows that sub-Saharan Africa had the highest death rate with 230 deaths per 100,000 population. By comparison, the high-income superregion – which includes the countries of Western Europe, North America and Australia – had the lowest death rate, with 52 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
The pathogens associated with most deaths varied by age. With 940,000 (9.4 lakh) deaths, S. aureus was linked to the largest number of deaths among adults above the age of 15, the researchers said. Most deaths among children aged 5 to 14 were linked to Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, with 49,000 deaths, they added.