UEMO supports ECDC’s campaign raising awareness on the use of antibiotics

18/11/2021 News Europe , News UEMO , Policy 329 Views
UEMO supports ECDC’s campaign raising awareness on the use of antibiotics

UEMO welcomes the European Centre for Control and Disease Prevention (ECDC)’s initiative to raise awareness on the issue of antibiotics consumption.

COVID-19 has been everyone’s focus since the beginning of 2020, and rightly so. However, despite the still ongoing pandemic, we cannot afford to neglect antimicrobial resistance.

The ECDC estimates that each year, more than 670 000 infections occur in the EU/EEA due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and that approximately 33 000 people die as a direct consequence of these infections. The health burden of antimicrobial resistance is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.

There is a clear correlation between the frequency of antibiotic use in a population and corresponding levels of antimicrobial resistance in this population. In other words, the more a country consumes antibiotics, the higher the resistance percentages are in this country.

The latest ECDC data show substantial and consistent decreases in antimicrobial consumption in the community (i.e. primary care settings) in most EU/EEA countries between 2019 and 2020. In the hospital sector, there was a decrease in antimicrobial consumption between 2019 and 2020 in about two-thirds of countries and an increase in the remaining EU/EEA countries that reported data for the hospital sector.

As healthcare professionals, UEMO has an additional responsibility because we prescribe antimicrobials. However, we do it in a responsible way, informing patients about the dangers associated to the use of antibiotics and how they should be taken — only when strictly necessary, and always finishing the prescribed treatment.

Policymakers, governmental and nongovernmental organisations also have a role in keeping antimicrobials working and we salute all entities raising awareness on such an important topic.

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