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 as last-line weapons.
There are few new antibiotics on the horizon and experts are worried that only a few big drug firms, such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, still have strong antibiotic research and development programmes.
Robert-Jan Smits, director-general for research and innovation at the European Commission, said the worrying growth of antibiotic resistance ... calls for a dedicated research effort. He added that the Commission had put more money this year than ever into research on resistance.