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

More than 35,000 in Europe people die annually from antibiotics-resistant infections, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported on Thursday.

Brussels, 17 November 2022 (dpa/MIA) — More than 35,000 in Europe people die annually from antibiotics-resistant infections, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported on Thursday.

“We see concerning increases in the number of deaths attributable to infections with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria,” said Andrea Ammon, the director of the EU’s heath agency.

“Each day, nearly 100 people die from these infections,” Ammon said.

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

Resistance levels vary significantly across the continent, according to the report, 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% 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 varies strongly across the bloc, with 42% of respondents in Malta reporting use in the past 12 months and 15% in Sweden and Germany. Around 8% of antibiotics were taken without a prescription.

Only three in 10 Europeans knew that the unnecessary use of antibiotics can make them ineffective or knew about their correct use and potential side effects, the press release said.

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