On Wednesday, disease and safety experts warned that superbug bacteria found in people, animals, and food across the European Union pose an “alarming” threat to public and animal health, as they have evolved to resist commonly used antibiotics.
A report The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria stated that around 25,000 people die from such superbugs in the European Union every year.
The EU’s health and food safety commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis said that antimicrobial resistance is an alarming threat putting human and animal health in danger.” “We have put substantial efforts to stop its rise, but this is not enough. We must be quicker, stronger and act on several fronts,” he added.
Misuse and overuse of antibiotics driven drug resistance, it encourages bacteria to evolve, survive and develop new ways of beating the medicines.
The report, which was issued on Wednesday, highlighted that in multi-drug resistance is high across the EU for Salmonella bacteria, which can cause the common and serious food-borne infection Salmonellosis.
ECDC’s chief scientist, Mike Catchpole, said that he was predominantly concerned that some common types of Salmonella in humans, such as monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium, are showing particularly high multi-drug resistance. “Prudent use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine is extremely important,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to ensure that antibiotics keep working.”
Carbapenem antibiotics are usually the last remaining treatment choice for patients infected with multi-drug resistant superbugs. Resistance to those antibiotics was detected for the first time in animals and food, though at low levels, as part of EU-wide annual observing for the report.
Colistin is another last-resort human antibiotic. Resistance to this drug was also found at very low levels in Salmonella and E. coli in pigs and cattle, the report said.
Head of EFSA’s biological hazards and contaminants unit, Marta Hugas, noted that countries in northern and western Europe usually have lower resistance levels than those in southern and eastern Europe and said this was probably due to differences in the use and overuse of the medicines.
“In countries where actions have been taken to reduce, replace and re-think the use of antimicrobials in animals show lower levels of antimicrobial resistance and decreasing trends,” she added.