Infectious diseases will cause the most deaths in 2050

What worries researchers the most is what will happen to multiresistant bacteria in the next 30 years and the new threats related to emerging viruses of animal origin. In other words, what will happen if antibiotics stop working with certain infections and new drugs are not developed in time, and how this generation could deal with the emergence of another virus capable of infecting humans.

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The Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) has presented this Wednesday a report on infectious diseases in which, firstly, it details a state of the matter of infections by respiratory or sexually transmitted viruses, among others, and which will be the scenario for the year 2050. The research estimates that "infectious diseases will be the leading cause of death by disease in 2050."

Throughout history, explained the president of the SEIMC Antonio Rivero, infectious diseases have been one of the most important causes of morbidity. And, although at some specific moments it has been able to give the sensation that scientific advances were going to be able to overcome communicable diseases, HIV or SARS-CoV-2 have shown the opposite. "The resistance of bacteria and the new zoonotic threats have once again shown that this is not the case," said Rivero at a ceremony held at the Madrid College of Physicians.

What will happen between now and 2050?

The experts who have prepared the extensive 16-chapter document have called for an anticipatory strategy to deal with infectious diseases and also for them to be treated by properly trained specialists. During the presentation, the researchers denounced that Spain continues to be the only European country that does not recognize this specialty.

In addition to the appearance of superbugs, climate change, globalization or migration are some of the determinants that will make the world of infections even more complex. All this, in addition, will translate into a high health cost for the countries.

In relation to the economic impact of antimicrobial resistance, the report exemplifies in its last chapter, "it has been shown that the treatment of an infection by a multi-resistant bacterium can be up to seven times more expensive than that of a sensitive one", without take into account factors such as length of income or “disability-adjusted life years”.

For Julia del Amo, the director of the Division for the Control of HIV, STIs, viral hepatitis and Tuberculosis of the Ministry of Health, who participated in the talk, it was a good idea to dedicate a chapter to sexually transmitted diseases, which "are the great forgotten ones and they have an absolutely growing trend”. "There are spikes in sexually transmitted diseases and this has happened after the COVID-19 pandemic."

The best forecasts, according to the research coordinator José Miguel Cisneros, are for hepatitis A, B and C and for tuberculosis. "By the year 2050 there is the possibility of eliminating hepatitis A, B and C, but only if the necessary measures are implemented for this", such as universal vaccination for A or screening, the report concludes.

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