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5 Bacteria Types Claimed 6.8 Lakh Lives In India In 2019

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India: Five bacteria types – E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae, S. aureus and A. baumanii – caused nearly 6.8 lakh deaths in India in 2019, according to a study published in The Lancet journal.

The analysis found that common bacterial infections were the second-leading cause of death in 2019, and were linked to one in eight deaths globally.

There were 7.7 million (77 lakh) deaths in 2019 associated with 33 common bacterial infections, with five bacteria alone connected 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.

In India, five bacteria — E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae, S. aureus and A. baumanii — were found to be the deadliest, causing 6,78,846 (nearly 6.8 lakh) deaths in 2019 alone, the researchers found.

E. Coli was the most deadly pathogen, claiming 1,57,082 (1.57 lakh) lives in India in 2019, according to the study.

Globally, bacterial infections were second only to ischemic heart disease as the leading cause of death in 2019, the analysis found, highlighting the need for reducing them as a global public health priority.

Building stronger health systems with greater diagnostic laboratory capacity, implementing control measures, and optimising antibiotic use is crucial to lessen the burden of disease caused by common bacterial infections, the researchers said.

“These new data for the first time reveal the full extent of the global public health challenge posed by bacterial infections,” said Christopher Murray, study co-author and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, US.

“It is of utmost importance to put these results on the radar of global health initiatives so that a deeper dive into these deadly pathogens can be conducted and proper investments are made to slash the number of deaths and infections,” Murray said in a statement.

While many estimates exist for pathogens such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, until now, estimates of the disease burden of bacterial pathogens were limited to a handful of specific pathogens and types of infection, or focused only on specific populations, the researchers said.

More deaths were linked to two of the deadliest pathogens — S. aureus and E. coli — than HIV/AIDS (864,000 deaths) in 2019, they said.

The new study provides the first global estimates of mortality associated with 33 common bacterial pathogens and 11 major infection types — known as infectious syndromes — leading to death from sepsis.