Monday 16 November 2015

ESPAUR report reveals continued rise in antibiotic resistant infections

A new report from Public Health England (PHE) shows that overall antibiotic resistant infections increased through 2014. Rates of bloodstream infections caused by Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae increased by 15.6% and 20.8% respectively, from 2010 to 2014. However, Streptococcus pneumoniae bloodstream infections reduced by 23% between 2010 and 2014, which may be related to increased pneumococcal vaccination rates.
ESPAUR is a programme developed by PHE to improve the surveillance of antibiotic resistance, antibiotic use data and support interventions and toolkits to improve antibiotic prescribing in general practice and hospitals. Each of these areas are key components of the UK cross-government Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy.
Reducing the amount of antibiotics that are prescribed is vital in tackling resistance and today’s report shows that the number of prescriptions dispensed in primary care has declined for the second year in a row. Although the number of prescriptions issued has decreased, when measuring total antibiotic consumption in primary care, there has been an increase of 6.5% between 2011 and 2014, with 2.4% of the increase occurring between 2013 and 2014. This suggests that longer courses and/or higher doses of antibiotics are being prescribed in general practice.
Use of broad spectrum antibiotics (antibiotics that are effective against a wide range of bacteria and more likely to drive antibiotic resistance) has decreased in primary care to 8.5%. This decrease now means that England is the lowest prescriber of some of these drugs in the European Union.
Early evidence suggests that informing prescribers of their prescribing patterns and comparing them to their peers may help reduce antibiotic prescribing. These findings show that a continued focus by every individual who prescribes, administers and dispenses antibiotics is essential to continue to reduce antibiotic consumption.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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