Saturday, 5 August 2017

EU report on antimicrobial resistance


Following a top level EU report showing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains high, Professor Mike Catchpole, Chief Scientist at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), has warned that stricter use of antibiotics is critical.

The document on AMR in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and ECDC revealed that bacteria found in humans, animals and food continue to show resistance to widely used antimicrobials, posing a serious threat to public and animal health, with related infections causing around 25,000 deaths in the EU annually. So concerned is the European Commission that later this summer it intends to launch an Action Plan presenting a new framework for future coordinated actions to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

‘Treating infections due to resistant bacteria is a challenge: antibiotics commonly used are no longer effective and doctors have to choose other antibiotics,’ Catchpole said. ‘This may delay getting the right treatment to patients and may result in complications, including death. Also, a patient may need more care as well as alternative and more expensive antibiotics, which may have more severe side-effects. ‘The situation is getting worse with the emergence of new bacterial strains resistant to several antibiotics at the same time. A major antibiotic resistance problem, especially in hospitals, is the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to last-line antibiotics, which therefore severely limits treatment options for infected patients. Such bacteria may eventually become resistant to all existing antibiotics.’

That, he warned, could lead to a return to the ‘pre-antibiotic era’ when organ transplants, cancer chemotherapy, intensive care and other medical procedures would no longer be possible. In terms of action needed and next steps, he said the ECDC has identified three main strategies to address antibiotic resistance: prudent use of antibiotics is the cornerstone of preventing the emergence and spread of resistance, since antibiotic resistance reported across Europe is directly linked to antibiotic use; implementation of good infection control practices, including hand hygiene as well as the screening and isolation of infected patients in hospitals, in order to prevent the spread of resistant bacteria; promoting the development of new antibiotics with novel mechanisms ofaction. ‘Prudent use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine is extremely important to address the challenge posed by antimicrobial resistance,’ he underline. ‘We all have a responsibility to ensure that antibiotics keep working.’ ECDC has recently completed an expert consultation to develop proposals for EU Guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in humans.

Source: Heathcare in Europe

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