Antibiotic Awareness Day raises consciousness about antibiotic resistance in Europe

Nov. 19, 2014

Yesterday, on the occasion of the 7th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) release its latest European Union (EU)-wide data on antibiotic resistance. Carbapenems are a major last-line class of antibiotics used to treat healthcare-associated infections. Although carbapenem resistance remains at relatively low levels for most countries, ECDC data show an increase of carbapenem resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniaefrom a population-weighted EU average percentage of 4.6% in 2010 to 8.3% in 2013. For the first time in 2013, ECDC monitored resistance to polymyxins (e.g. colistin) in Klebsiella pneumoniae across Europe. Colistin is a last-line antibiotic developed several decades ago that has side effects and limitations to its use, but has become essential for the treatment of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella infections. Increasing resistance against colistin is a cause for serious concern and a threat to patient safety.

ECDC data also show that the percentage of Staphylococcus aureus resistant to methicillin (MRSA) decreased for the period 2010 to 2013, but the decrease was less pronounced compared to the previous four-year period. MRSA remains a public health problem in Europe. In 2013, seven out of 30 reporting countries had MRSA percentages above 25%.

To mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day, activities promoting prudent use of antibiotics under the banner “Everyone is responsible, everywhere” were organized in more than 40 countries across Europe. ECDC also cooperated with partners in other regions of the world, using social media to spread the word. ECDC coordinated a 24-hour global Twitter conversation hosted jointly by participating organizations from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, with the participation of the World Health Organization. Learn more about European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

Read more