Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

AMR poses a major threat to human health around the world. AMR occurs when microorganisms, such as bacteria, adapt in ways that make currently available treatments for infections less effective.

Photo by CDC, Unsplash.

13.66 million people who died globally had sepsis as an immediate cause of death or in the chain of events leading to their death (intermediate cause).
4.95 million people who died in 2019 suffered from drug-resistant infections, such as lower respiratory, bloodstream, and intra-abdominal infections.
1.27 million deaths in 2019 were directly caused by AMR.
1 in 5 people who died from AMR was a child under 5 years old, often from previously treatable infections.

Key findings

Based on estimates for 204 countries and territories, IHME’s paper “Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis” reveals that AMR has become a leading cause of death globally.

Nearly 5 million people who died suffered from AMR-related illness.

Over a million people are now dying each year due to infections such as lower respiratory, bloodstream, and intra-abdominal infections because bacteria have become resistant to treatment. 


Explore the data visual

Children and the elderly are most acutely affected.

Young children are at significant risk: In 2019, 1 in 5 deaths caused by AMR occurred in children under the age of 5 – often from previously treatable infections.


Read more in the publication

Only 7 pathogens caused more than 80,000 deaths each in 2019.

These were S. aureus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, S. pneumoniae, A. baumannii, M. tuberculosis, and P. aeruginosa.


Read more in the publication

Interactive data visual

AMR threatens health systems everywhere.

Use the MICROBE (Measuring Infectious Causes and Resistance Outcomes for Burden Estimation) tool to visualize the health outcomes of infections, pathogens, and antimicrobial resistance across different countries and regions.

Preview the MICROBE interactive data visual about antimicrobial resistance

How do we combat AMR?

Bacteria are gaining resistance faster than new antibiotics can be developed, but decision-makers can use this information about AMR to inform development of new drugs or vaccines. Effective vaccines are particularly important since they would reduce the need for antibiotic use. 

In the meantime, essential medicines need to be made accessible. In addition, more data is needed, particularly from lower-income countries; increasing high-quality tracking of AMR would bring greater clarity to this issue. 

There are more immediate actions that can help countries around the world protect their health systems against the threat of AMR:

  • Take greater action to monitor and control infections, globally, nationally and within individual hospitals.
  • Accelerate our support for infection prevention and control, as well as expand access to vaccines and clean water and sanitation.
  • Optimize our use of antibiotics unrelated to treating human disease, such as in food and animal production – taking a One Health approach and recognizing the interconnection between human and animal health.
  • Be thoughtful about our use of antimicrobial treatments – expanding access to lifesaving antibiotics where needed, minimizing use where it is not necessary to improve human health, and acting according to the World Health Organization Global Action Plan and AWaRE guidelines.
  • Increase funding at every stage of the development pipeline for new antimicrobials targeting priority pathogens – from research for high-priority bacteria, such as K. pneumoniae and E. coli, to securing access through innovative market solutions.

Read the research


See the impact in your country

For the first time, we developed individual country briefings on AMR for 204 countries and territories. These briefings are intended for key stakeholders working on AMR to help raise awareness of the real burden of antimicrobial resistance across different countries and regions.

View policy briefings

IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray reviews key findings from our AMR research and what these findings mean for health policy decision-makers.

Common questions about AMR

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