EU Antiobiotics Awareness Day calls for prudent use of antibiotics and warns against self-medication

antibiotics-awareness-day logoTo mark the 7th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, on 18 November, which focuses on “self-medication with antibiotics“, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released its latest EU-wide data on antibiotic resistance.

Every year, the countries of the European Union submit statistics on antibiotic resistance to the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) and information on consumption of antibiotics to the European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network (ESAC-Net), both of which are part of the ECDC.

The data published in the latest ECDC report reveal, in 2013 for the first time, resistance to colistin, a last-line medicine against germs that are multi-resistant to antibiotics. According to Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, this is a “truly alarming” situation and an issue he intend to prioritise throughout his five-year term of office.
ECDC Director, Dr Marc Sprenger warns against the current gradual return to the ‘pre-antibiotic era’, when bacterial diseases could not be treated and most patients would die from their infection for lack of effective treatment.
The full report on development of antibiotic resistance is available on the ECDC site.

In addition, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has developed a toolkit to advice national public health authorities and health professionals such as pharmacists and primary care prescribers on how to engage with the general public so as to promote appropriate and responsible use of antibiotics: www.age-platform.eu/dossiers-en-gb-6/2429-toolkit-on-self-medication-with-antibiotics

Next to those materials, activities promoting prudent use of antibiotics under the banner “Everyone is responsible, everywhere” are organised in more than 40 countries across Europe during the week of 18 November. On 18 November, ECDC coordinated a 24-hour global Twitter conversation (https://twitter.com/hashtag/AntibioticDay?src=hash) around the world with the participation of the World Health Organization.

As stated on the Facebook page of WHO Europe (the European Regional Office of the World Health Organization), antibiotics and vaccinations have added 20 years to our lives but inappropriate use of antibiotics decreases its effectiveness against bacterial infections, so it might not work when really needed. WHO Europe has also produced an infographic on ‘What you need to know about antibiotic resistance.

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