Antimicrobial resistance estimated to have killed 1.27 million in 2019

Antimicrobial resistance estimated to have killed 1.27 million in 2019

A new UN report said on Tuesday that superbugs, strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics are estimated to have killed 1.27 million people in 2019, and the World Health Organization says antimicrobial resistance AMR is one of the top global health threats on the near-term horizon.

The UN says there could be up to 10 million deaths per year by the year 2050 because of AMR.

There are a number of disinfectants, antiseptics and antibiotics that can help microbes become stronger, from toothpaste and shampoo to cow's milk and wastewater.

A new report on Tuesday said pollution is a key driver in the development, transmission and spread of AMR, calling for urgent action to clean up the environment.

The report from the UN Environment ProgrammeUN Environment Programme said the risks are increasing due to increasing pollution and lack of management of sources of pollution.

Antimicrobial resistance is a natural phenomenon, but the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans, animals and plants has made the problem worse.

The antibiotics may no longer work to fight the infections they were designed to treat.

The UN report said on Tuesday that pollution in the environment from key economic sectors has exacerbated the problem, namely the pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing sectors, along with agriculture and health care.

Herbicides to control weeds on farms may increase AMR, while heavy metals are also contributing to the problem.

Once antimicrobials enter the environment, they seep into the food chain - they've been found in fish and cattle and loop back into factories making everyday toiletries, for example.