EU study looks at the risks of antimicrobial resistance

In a recent study, it’s been reported that, despite efforts, resistance to antibiotics hasn’t started to slow. And according to Vytenis Andriukaitis, the health commissioner, this is one of the biggest threats to health in the EU.

The study was put together by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It looked at data from humans, cows, and pigs, and assessed their level of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The researchers then analysed the results, and found that several types of antibiotics are no longer effective in treating dangerous illnesses.

For example, fluoroquinolone antibiotics no longer works in treating severe campylobacteriosis, and Salmonella is becoming more resistant to fluoroquinolones.

It’s estimated that AMR causes around 33,000 deaths every year in the EU alone. And this number is set to rise as more farmers use antibiotics to treat diseases in animals, which can be transmitted to humans through meat consumption or environmental exposure.

In recent years, there’s been an increase in the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. The result of this is a higher risk of “superbugs” developing, which are resistant to antibiotics, and are unable to be treated, meaning there’s a higher risk of them being spread to others.

ECDC’s chief scientist, Mike Catchpole, warned that antimicrobial resistance could be one of the leading causes of death within decades. Even at the moment, thousands of patients across the EU have very limited options when it comes to the treatment of severe infections.

“Now is the time to turn the tide on antimicrobial resistance, if we want to keep antibiotics working,” he said in an interview.

The Commission points out that  “measurable goals to reduce new resistant microorganisms in livestock and ensure the most efficient use of antibiotics in humans” need to be adopted to address the issue.

Human health and animal health are linked, and we need to look at the spread of diseases between the two.

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