By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

New research published by The Pew Charitable Trusts, University of Utah, and Infectious Diseases Society of America showed that in 2017, infections caused by six antibiotic-resistant pathogens–Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)– resulted in more than 11,000 deaths and nearly $1.9 billion in health care costs among older Americans, more than one-third of the estimated 30,000 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Acinetobacter spp./CDC

The majority of these deaths and costs were associated with community-onset infections—meaning those acquired somewhere other than in a health care setting—which caused more than 9,000 deaths and $1.1 billion in health care costs.

The study revealed that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae infections were significant contributors to both total deaths and health care costs among older adults in 2017—a consequence of the high number of infections associated with these pathogens. The study estimated that MRSA infections resulted in nearly 5,000 deaths (42% of total deaths) and nearly $717 million (38% of the total) in health care costs in this population. MRSA also had the highest per-infection cost of all pathogens studied among community-onset invasive infections. Infections caused by ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae resulted in nearly 3,400 deaths (28% of total deaths) and about $668 million (35% of the total) in health care costs.

An age-related decline in the ability to fight off disease makes older Americans particularly vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant infections. Additionally, older adults are more likely to have multiple chronic conditions, which places them at a higher risk for severe infections. Finally, many older adults receive care at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, where infections can easily spread due to the close living quarters, frequent socializing, and group activities.