On the occasion of the 9th European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD), which takes place every year on 18 November, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said that "Since we became aware of the dangers of antibiotic resistance, the European Union led the way in the fight against this massive threat for humankind. Our actions at EU level have had a clear added value, as recognised by independent evaluators, and have provided a framework to guide and coordinate activities on Antimicrobial Resistance at European and international level. But more work is needed. To further cement the EU's position as global leader in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance the European Commission will launch, in 2017, a second Action Plan building upon and strengthening the work already done and supporting Member States in the implementation and monitoring of their National Action Plans."
European Antibiotic Awareness Day is a European health initiative coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) which aims to provide a platform and support for national campaigns on the fight against AMR and more particularly on the prudent use of antibiotics.
The latest annual surveillance results which are published on the EAAD show that in 2015, antibiotic resistance continued to increase for most bacteria and antibiotics under surveillance. Resistance to last line antibiotics that treat pneumoniae (carbapenem) increased from 6.2% in 2012 to 8.1% in 2015. Resistance to carbapenems and polymyxins (e.g. colistin), two groups of antibiotics considered as last treatment options for patients infected with bacteria resistant to other available antibiotics was also reported. While antibiotic consumption in hospitals significantly increased in several EU Member States, their consumption in the community decreased in six EU Member States.
To alert the public about the global threat that AMR represents, a World Antibiotic Awareness Week is also organised annually (14-20 November). A recent survey in non-EU countries ranging from EU neighbourhood countries to large countries such as Canada, China, Brazil or India, overall knowledge about antibiotics globally remains generally low and in most countries, only a minority receive information about not taking antibiotics unnecessarily. While the antibiotic use in those countries varies considerably among them, in most countries most people obtained antibiotics with a medical prescription.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is resistance of a microorganism to an antimicrobial medicine to which it was originally sensitive. AMR occurs naturally but the phenomenon is hugely increased by excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines and poor infection control practices in animals and humans.
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