ECDC: Drug Resistant Superbugs Are Killing 33,000 in Europe Each Year

Superbug infections resistant to multiple antibiotics kill around 33,000 people a year in Europe, health experts said on Monday, and the burden of these diseases is comparable to that of flu, tuberculosis and HIV combined.

An analysis by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) found the impact of drug-resistant infections had increased since 2007, with concerning rises in cases of bugs resistant to even the most powerful, last-resort antibiotics - including a class of drugs known as carbapenems.

"This ... is worrying because these antibiotics are the last treatment options available," the ECDC said in a statement. "When these are no longer effective, it is extremely difficult or, in many cases, impossible to treat infections."

Specialists estimate that around 70 percent of bacteria that can cause infection are already resistant to at least one antibiotic that is commonly used to treat them.