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La resistencia a antibióticos causará 2,4 millones de muertes en las próximas décadas


Raquel Segovia

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La OCDE advirtió que el uso inadecuado de los medicamentos también tendrá un costo anual de USD 3.500 millones, por lo que es necesaria una estrategia de respuesta que enfrente al fortalecimiento de la capacidad de las bacterias

La utilización excesiva de antibióticos contribuye a ampliar la resistencia de bacterias a los medicamentos (Getty Images)

La utilización excesiva de antibióticos contribuye a ampliar la resistencia de bacterias a los medicamentos (Getty Images)

La resistencia de las bacterias, un fenómeno con una expansión inquietante en buena medida por el uso inadecuado de los antibióticos, podría causar 2,4 millones de muertes solo en los países de la OCDE hasta 2050 y costar 3.500 millones de dólares anuales a sus economías.

Este es el diagnóstico de la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico (OCDE), que en un estudio publicado este miércoles lanza un mensaje de alerta y presenta medidas para impedir que todo eso suceda con un costo muy bajo pero que implica un cambio profundo de prácticas médicas e higiénicas.

Los autores del estudio advierten de que, sin esa estrategia de respuesta, la capacidad de las bacterias para resistir a los antimicrobianos será un problema cada vez más grave, con elevadas tasas de mortalidad por esa causa.

En particular en algunos países del sur de Europa como Italia (18,17 fallecimientos anuales por 100.000 habitantes), Grecia (14,79), Portugal (11,34) y Francia (8,61), pero también en Estados Unidos (8,98). España, con una tasa de 3,95 y unos 1.835 decesos al año, se sitúa en mitad de la tabla de los 33 Estados analizados, lejos también de los nórdicos, Holanda, Australia y Canadá, todos con menos de 2.

 
 
Un antibiótico debiera recetarse tras la realización de un antibiograma que indique qué bacteria está presente en ese cuadro (Getty Images)
Un antibiótico debiera recetarse tras la realización de un antibiograma que indique qué bacteria está presente en ese cuadro (Getty Images)

En el conjunto de la organización, casi una de cada cinco infecciones es consecuencia de las bacterias resistentes a los antibióticos, algo que los autores del trabajo culpan a "medio siglo de prescripción excesiva de estos fármacos".

El nivel de resistencia de ocho combinaciones de bacterias y antibióticos de alta prioridad ha pasado en la OCDE del 14% en 2005 al 17% en 2015 (del 14,5 al 18,3% en España), con una gran brecha entre Turquía, Corea del Sur y Grecia, que se sitúan en torno al 35%, y los nórdicos y Holanda, que apenas superan el 5 por ciento.

Para 2030, las predicciones apuntan a unas tasas un 70% superiores a las que se daban en 2005.

Todavía más preocupante ha sido y se augura la evolución en países de ingresos medios y bajos. En Argentina, Brasil y Colombia se ha superado el 30% en 2015; en China, Rusia y Rumanía el 40%, y en India se ha alcanzado el 57,1%.

 
Para disminuir la resistencia, recomiendan evitar el mal uso de antibióticos y promover su empleo responsable (Getty)
Para disminuir la resistencia, recomiendan evitar el mal uso de antibióticos y promover su empleo responsable (Getty)

Más allá del riesgo vital, esta resistencia bacteriana tiene "un impacto importante sobre la calidad de vida de las personas" que son víctimas, con dos poblaciones particularmente vulnerables, los niños de hasta 12 meses y los mayores de 70 años.

Y un costo por las complicaciones estimado en 3.500 millones de dólares anuales en los países de la OCDE y en los de la Unión Europea, lo que equivale al 10% de los gastos en atención sanitaria por enfermedades transmisibles (2,4 dólares por cabeza).

La estrategia propuesta

Pero esta dinámica se podría atajar dedicando sólo unos dos dólares por persona para una estrategia en cinco frentes: el primero, la mejora de la higiene en los centros sanitarios, entre otras cosas fomentando el lavado de manos.

Los otros cuatro son promover un uso más racional de los antibióticos para "poner fin a décadas de prescripción excesiva"; utilizar pruebas de diagnóstico rápido para determinar si una infección es bacteriana o vírica; la llamada "prescripción diferida", y campañas de sensibilización pública.

Gracias a eso se podrían evitar hasta 1,6 millones de muertes, es decir dos tercios de las motivadas por esta resistencia, y disminuir en alrededor del 40% la carga sanitaria por complicaciones.

En términos estrictamente financieros, la inversión en estas medidas se podría amortizar en un solo año y en adelante generaría un ahorro de aproximadamente 1,5 dólares por cada dólar invertido porque la prescripción diferida de antibióticos o lavarse las manos es rentable inmediatamente.

En definitiva, el ahorro anual en la sanidad de la OCDE sería de 4.800 millones de dólares, superior incluso a los posibles gastos por la resistencia bacteriana, porque esas medidas tienen un impacto positivo también sobre otro tipo de enfermedades.

(Con información de EFE)

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