By Dennis Thompson
Health Day Reporter
TUESDAY, November 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Bacterial infections are responsible for 1 in 8 deaths and are the second leading cause of death worldwide after heart disease, a new report reveals.
About 7.7 million people died in 2019 from infection with one of 33 common types of bacteria, according to the report published Nov. 21 The lancet. That’s nearly 14% of deaths this year.
More than 75% of bacteria-related deaths are due to one of three diseases — lower respiratory tract infections, bloodstream infections, and abdominal infections, the study authors said.
And five specific and well-known germs – Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – were responsible for more than half of deaths from bacterial infections.
The pathogen associated with the most deaths worldwide was S. aureus, with 1.1 million deaths. This bacterium causes “staph” infections, which can lead to pneumonia and sepsis.
The four other bacteria have each been linked to more than half a million deaths: E. coli (950,000 deaths); S. pneumoniae (829,000); K. pneumoniae (790,000); and P. aeruginosa (559,000), the researchers reported.
Other deaths have been linked S. aureus and E. coli each more than HIV/AIDS in 2019, which killed 864,000 people.
Despite this, investigators found that HIV research received $42 billion in funding, compared to $800 million for E. coli Research.
“These new data demonstrate for the first time the full extent of the global public health challenge posed by bacterial infections,” said co-researcher Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle.
“It is of paramount importance to put these findings on the radar of global health initiatives so that these deadly pathogens can be studied more closely and appropriate investments made to reduce deaths and infections,” Murray said in a journal publication.
The mortality rate from bacterial infections varied by location. Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest number, at 230 deaths per 100,000 people. In comparison, Western Europe, North America and Australasia had a combined rate of 52 deaths per 100,000.
The germs linked to most deaths also differed by age.
S. aureus caused the most deaths in people aged 15 and over, while Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi killed most of the 5 to 14 year olds. Meanwhile, pneumonia bacteria killed most children under the age of 4.
Harvard Medical School has more on how to prevent infection.
SOURCE: The lancetPress release, November 21, 2022