Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today. It contributes to prolonged hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality. Drug-resistant bacteria cause an estimated 25 000 deaths annually in the European Union alone, estimated to cost more than $1.5 billion in additional healthcare expenses and loss of productivity. Without effective antibiotics, a growing list of infections is becoming harder and harder to treat including pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea.

We urgently need to change the way we prescribe and use antibiotics. Even if new antibiotics are developed, antibiotic resistance will remain a major global health threat unless there is a meaningful change in antibiotic prescribing practices, and behavioural changes including actions to reduce the spread of infections through hand washing, good food hygiene, and vaccination.

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Watch Lancet’s Dr Ben Prinsloo talk about Antibiotic Resistance: