A new report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reveals that resistance has continued to increase across Europe in spite of attempts to raise global awareness of the danger to the fundamentally important antibiotic class of drugs. Without them, some infectious diseases could become untreatable and some forms of major surgery would again become perilous.
The report, released on the occasion of the 9th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, is based on the latest EU-wide data on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic consumption. In 2015, antibiotic resistance continued to increase for most bacteria and antibiotics under surveillance. In particular, the EU average percentage of carbapenem resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae increased from 6.2% in 2012 to 8.1% in 2015, and combined resistance to carbapenems and polymyxins (e.g. colistin) was sometimes reported. These two groups of antibiotics are considered last-line antibiotics as they usually are the last treatment options for patients infected with bacteria resistant to other available antibiotics. While antibiotic consumption in hospitals significantly increased in several EU Member States, antibiotic consumption in the community decreased in six EU Member States.
Since 1983, the APUA Newsletter has been a continuous source of non-commercial information disseminated without charge to healthcare practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers worldwide. The Newsletter carries up-to-date scientific and clinical information on prudent antibiotic use, antibiotic access and effectiveness, and management of antibiotic resistance. The publication is distributed to over 7,000 affiliated individuals in more than 100 countries.
An influential report sponsored by the British Government and assembled by Lord Jim O’Neill suggests that the scourge of antimicrobial resistance can be effectively tackled. By launching targeted public awareness campaigns about the proper use of antibiotics, reducing the intake of antibiotics by livestock and humans, and simultaneously increasing the number of antibiotics available on the shelves, the O’Neill report concludes that combating antimicrobial resistance is not just possible, but also affordable. While the economic cost of antimicrobial resistance is predicted to be $100 trillion a year by 2050, the cost of action against rising resistance is estimated to be a much more modest $40 billion dollars a decade. Furthermore, the report provides accompanying recommendations to reduce resistance that include prohibiting the use of antibiotics that are vital to humans in livestock, carefully surveying the administration of drugs in developing countries, improving sanitation and hygiene to reduce risk of infection and disease, using rapid and specific diagnostic techniques to distinguish between bacterial infections and other infections, administrating vaccines and other alternatives to antibiotics, and forming an international coalition for action and a global innovation fund.