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More evidence of link between antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have published a report which highlights potential relationships between antimicrobial (antibiotic) use and the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from both humans and food-producing animals. It is the second joint report and makes use of data collected in different surveillance/monitoring programmes across Europe for 2013-2015. 

Data reported indicate that, overall, the use of antimicrobials is higher in food-producing animals than in humans, with substantial variations between countries. Although the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance is complex, in most cases, antimicrobial use was positively associated with resistance to antimicrobials in bacteria in both animals and humans. These results emphasise the need to ensure responsible use of antimicrobials by all stakeholders from a ‘One-health’ perspective. Reducing unnecessary use of antimicrobials in humans and animals will, in turn, have a beneficial impact on the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance.

The report recommends the refinement of existing surveillance systems across Europe. More detailed and comprehensive data on antimicrobial consumption by age and gender in humans and by species and production types in animals will enable a more robust integrated analysis.