The socio-economic burden of musculoskeletal infections
Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of severe chronic pain and physical disability affecting many millions of people. Their impact on the health related quality of life of the individual, the society and the health care systems is enormous . This trend will increase dramatically over the next years as the population is ageing and the lifestyle is changing towards more mobility and recreational activities. These parameters have brought up musculoskeletal disorders as the most expensive disease category, requiring 23% of the total cost of illness treatment as the Swedish cost of illness study has indicated. The indirect costs related to morbidity and disability are the greatest in most European Union countries and in the United States, while in both the total Health Expenditures are increasing in relation with the respective gross domestic products . For example, since 1965, the percentage of the United States gross domestic product spent on health care has increased from 5% to 13.4%, a figure that is expected to continue to rise to 15.9% by 2010 . However, the disorders of the bone and the joints have not yet been addressed as health care priorities. The established market economies allocate less than 5% of their national spending on research related to these conditions. © 2007 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.