The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a major public health threat, and infections caused by antimicrobial resistant pathogens continue to increase in the European Union and worldwide. These infections cause suffering, incapacity and death, and impose an enormous financial burden on both healthcare systems and on society in general, because of direct costs due to prolongation of illness and treatment in hospital, indirect costs due to loss of productivity, and societal costs due to morbidity and mortality. This is likely to lead to already-scarce healthcare resources being diverted to infection control efforts, and will have long-term implications due to loss of confidence in the medical profession and in the public healthcare delivery system provided or regulated by governments. Therefore, the aim of this project is to provide realistic estimates of the burden of disease and the costs to societies attributable to infections caused by antimicrobial resistant pathogens in member states and accession countries of the European Union.
There is a lack of data on the treatment outcomes in infections due to antibiotic resistant pathogens, in terms of attributable mortality, prolongation of hospital care and, above all, on the economic consequences for individuals and health-care systems and societies. Due to a wide variety of health care systems in Europe it is difficult to compare information from individual studies carried out in different countries.This information, however, is a prerequisite for estimating the burden of resistance and disease not only for individual countries but for Europe in general, and is essential to empower health system managers, policy-makers, public health specialists and health-care workers to understand, prioritize, develop and implement solutions in relation to competing health threats.
The general objective of this project is to provide realistic estimates of the burden of disease and the costs attributable to infections caused by antimicrobial resistant pathogens in Member States and Accession Countries of the European Union.
The main specific objectives are:
To achieve this, BURDEN will run in close cooperation with existing networks in the area of AMR and will, in the context of the above projects, constitute an important new cornerstone and generate the data which are still missing on the costs to societies. Data from at least 15 hospitals in different member states, and from a total of around 200 intensive care units located in more than 20 EU member states including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden will be collected and analysed. The project will be carried out for 3 years (2007-2009). Additionally individual case histories of the human and social burden of infections caused by antimicrobial resistant bacteria will be surveyed.
At the end of the second project year, a first summary report on the financial impact of AMR on European hospital care, and the human and societal dimensions, will be presented. The final results will be presented to the European Parliament at the end of the third project year.
The collection of data on the burden of disease and AMR will provide valid data for politicians, policy-makers and public health experts that will allow estimates of the burden and the costs of AMR on a national level allow a comparison of costs between countries of the European Region give recommendations for participating countries/hospitals for implantation effective measures to keep costs caused by AMR to a minimum inform public health authorities throughout Europe, in order to prioritise and plan future health political goals, as against other specific causes of morbidity and mortality in Europe.