Just as the CDC on this side of the pond is promoting their GET SMART about antibiotics campaign, countries across Europe each year promote European Antibiotic Awareness Day during the week of November 18th.
This year the European campaign is promoting the prudent use of antibiotics in hospitals; meaning that antibiotics are only used when they are needed, with the correct dose, dosage intervals and duration of the course.
The main findings from the executive summary include:
- There is a gap between the burden of infections due to multidrug-resistant bacteria and the development of new antibiotics to tackle the problem.
- Resistance to antibiotics is high among Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria that cause serious infections in humans and reaches 25% or more in several EU Member States.
- Resistance is increasing in the EU among certain Gram-negative bacteria such as recently observed for Escherichia coli.
- Each year, about 25 000 patients die in the EU from an infection with the selected multidrug-resistant bacteria.
- Infections due to these selected multidrug-resistant bacteria in the EU result in extra healthcare costs and productivity losses of at least EUR 1.5 billion each year.
- Fifteen systemically administered antibacterial agents with a new mechanism of action or directed against a new bacterial target were identified as being under development with a potential to meet the challenge of multidrug resistance. Most of these were in early phases of development and were primarily developed against bacteria for which treatment options are already available.
- There is a particular lack of new agents with new targets or mechanisms of action against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Two such agents with new or possibly new targets and documented activity were identified, both in early phases of development.
- A European and global strategy to address this gap is urgently needed.
The ECDC posted the following press release on their website, regarding this awareness campaign, and release of information.
Brussels, 16 November 2010
On the occasion of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day, ECDC is releasing new European-wide surveillance data on antibiotic resistance from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net).
With annually up to 400,000 patients reported to suffer from infections resistant to multiple antibiotics, the data show that antibiotic resistance remains a public health problem across the European Union. In Klebsiella pneumoniae, a common cause of infection amongst hospital patients, an emerging trend is the proportion of resistance to powerful last-line antibiotics, such as carbapenems.
Proportions of resistance range from less than 1% to more than 25%. Without effective last-line antibiotics, doctors face the dilemma of not having any treatment options left.
Speaking today at the launch event for European Antibiotic Awareness Day in the European Parliament, ECDC Director, Marc Sprenger, said:
“Antibiotic resistance remains a serious threat to patient safety, reducing options for treatment and increasing lengths of hospital stay, as well as patient morbidity and mortality.
However the news is not all gloomy. European-wide surveillance data from EARS-Net – a network coordinated by ECDC – show that a significant number of countries have reported decreasing trends for MRSA for the second consecutive year.
Notwithstanding, we are seeing increasing multi-drug resistance and the emergence of resistance to last-line antibiotics in European hospitals which we must take urgent action to address.”
Reuters has a good report today on all of this, including an interview with Dominique Monnet of the ECDC who expressed deep concern over the spread of NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) and other resistant bacteria.
He is quoted as saying, "I know people are calling this NDM-1 a superbug, but for me NDM-1 and bacteria like it are more than superbugs. We're talking about super superbugs."
By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent
LONDON | Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:27pm IST
The concern over these resistant bugs was palpable and increasing practically every day - even before NDM-1 appeared on the scene.
Now, with many of these new resistance genes residing on a plasmid — a snippet DNA that has the potential to jump to other strains of bacteria – concerns are escalating even faster than before.
You can read my recent report on KPC and NDM-1 in Carbapenemases Rising.