EU doctors turn to last-ditch antibiotics as resistance grows
To a large extent, antibiotic resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which encourages bacteria to develop new ways of overcoming them.
Experts say primary care doctors are partly to blame for prescribing antibiotics for patients who demand them unnecessarily, and hospitals are also guilty of overuse.
Latest data for 2010 show the highest user of antibiotics in Europe is Greece, which has a defined daily dose (DDD) rate of 39.4 per 1,000 people per day, while Estonia is the lowest user at 11.1 DDD per 1,000 people.
Between 2009 and 2010, three countries - Britain, Iceland and Latvia, showed an increase of antibiotic use outside of hospitals.
In can be a vicious circle. Adding to worries that rates of deadly multiple drug resistant superbugs will rise further, the ECDC noted that consumption of carbapenems increased significantly from 2007 to 2010.
Better news on MRSA
Sprenger added, however, that there was some good news in data showing that in the past few years, infections with the superbug MRSA, or meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), have either decreased or stabilised in most EU countries.
Nevertheless, we must remain vigilant, as the percentage of Staphylococcus aureus resistant to meticillin remains above 25 percent in more than one fourth of the reporting countries, mainly in Southern and Eastern Europe, he said in a statement.
Part of the problem with growing antibiotic resistance worldwide is that there is little commercial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in new drugs that may be held in reserve and only used
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