Health and economic impacts of antimicrobial resistance

Rev Infect Dis. Nov-Dec 1987;9(6):1065-78. doi: 10.1093/clinids/9.6.1065.


For comparison of the impacts of infections due to antimicrobial-resistant bacteria with those of infections due to antimicrobial-susceptible strains of the same bacteria, data were evaluated from 175 published and unpublished reports of investigations of nosocomial and community-acquired infections with selected bacteria. The evaluation of outcomes of hospital-acquired infections with resistant organisms was often confounded by risk factors also associated with poor outcomes. Nevertheless, for both nosocomial and community-acquired infections, the mortality, the likelihood of hospitalization, and the length of hospital stay were usually at least twice as great for patients infected with drug-resistant strains as for those infected with drug-susceptible strains of the same bacteria. Poor outcomes could be attributed both to the expected effects of ineffective antimicrobial therapy and to the unexpected occurrence of drug-resistant infections complicated by prior antimicrobial therapy for other medical problems. Although the adverse economic and health effects of drug-resistant bacterial infections can only be roughly quantified, it is concluded that antimicrobial resistance is an important health problem and an economic burden to society.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / economics*
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / economics*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / drug therapy
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / economics
  • Dysentery, Bacillary / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Salmonella Infections / drug therapy
  • Salmonella Infections / economics
  • Salmonella Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / economics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • United States