The scope of the antimicrobial resistance challenge

Iruka N. Okeke, Marlieke E.A. de Kraker, Thomas P. Van Boeckel, Chirag K. Kumar, Heike Schmitt, Ana C. Gales, Silvia Bertagnolio, Mike Sharland, Ramanan Laxminarayan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Each year, an estimated 7·7 million deaths are attributed to bacterial infections, of which 4.95 million are associated with drug-resistant pathogens, and 1·27 million are caused by bacterial pathogens resistant to the antibiotics available. Access to effective antibiotics when indicated prolongs life, reduces disability, reduces health-care expenses, and enables access to other life-saving medical innovations. Antimicrobial resistance undoes these benefits and is a major barrier to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, including targets for newborn survival, progress on healthy ageing, and alleviation of poverty. Adverse consequences from antimicrobial resistance are seen across the human life course in both health-care-associated and community-associated infections, as well as in animals and the food chain. The small set of effective antibiotics has narrowed, especially in resource-poor settings, and people who are very young, very old, and severely ill are particularly susceptible to resistant infections. This paper, the first in a Series on the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, considers the global scope of the problem and how it should be measured. Robust and actionable data are needed to drive changes and inform effective interventions to contain resistance. Surveillance must cover all geographical regions, minimise biases towards hospital-derived data, and include non-human niches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2426-2438
Number of pages13
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10442
StatePublished - Jun 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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