EU agency: Antibiotic resistance kills 35,000 a year in Europe

By Hadiza Mohammed

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Thursday reported that more than 35,000 people in Europe died annually from antibiotics-resistant infections.

Andrea Ammon, the director of the EU’s heath agency said:  “we see concerning increases in the number of deaths attributable to infections with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Each day, nearly 100 people die from these infections.’’

The ECDC report assessing antibiotic resistance in the European Union, Norway and Iceland in the years 2016-2020 concluded that its health impact was  comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.

According to the report, its resistance levels vary significantly across the continent with the lowest levels in northern Europe and the highest in countries in the south and east.

Ammon called for further efforts to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, prevent infections and improve national measures.

In a survey published by the European Commission on Thursday, 23 per cent of respondents said to have taken antibiotics during the past year,  the lowest figure since 2009.

“Much more however,  needs to be done,’’ the commission said in a press release.

The use of antibiotics also varied strongly across the bloc, with 42 per cent of respondents in Malta reporting use in the past 12 months and 15 per cent in Sweden and Germany.

Around eight  per cent of antibiotics were taken without a prescription.

The press release added that three in 10 Europeans knew that the unnecessary use of antibiotics could  make them ineffective or knew about their correct use and potential side effects. (dpa/NAN)