Bacterial infections second leading cause of death worldwide

Staphylococcus aureus and pneumococcus are among the most deadly bacteria. In total all infections cause nearly 8 million deaths.

Tuesday, The Lancet published the results of a large survey dedicated to estimating the death toll attributable to thirty of the bacteria most commonly associated with infections.

Thus, throughout the world, 7.7 million deaths can be linked to a bacterial infection. A number which corresponds to one in eight deaths even though these figures date from 2019, in other words before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Second cause of death” in the world

After heart problems, it is therefore these bacterial infections that are most closely linked to death. The study authors cite Staphylococcus aureus and pneumococcus as some of the most deadly bacteria.

It is part of the program Global Burden of Disease, funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, that this study was conducted. A program so vast that it combines the work of several thousand researchers in a large part of the world’s countries.

Five bacteria for 50% of deaths

Thus, among the thirty bacteria whose impact on mortality has been studied, five are linked to more than half of the deaths. These are Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, pneumococcus, Klebsellia pneumoniae and pyocyanin bacillus.

Staphylococcus aureus is according to the authors “the leading bacterial cause of death in 135 countries”.

A singularity among children under 5

The study also notes that in the smallest, that is to say those under the age of five, pneumococcal infections prove to be the most deadly.

Scientists believe that these results are an additional reason to assert that bacterial infections are a “urgent priority” of public health. What are they asking? They call for more prevention on this subject, better use of antibiotics to circumvent antibiotic resistance and more effective vaccination in its large-scale application.

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