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18 June, 2024
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Cyprus tops Europe in alarming antibiotic use

Government seeks to reduce antibiotic dependency

Newsroom / CNA

Cyprus has the dubious honor of being the top consumer of antibiotics in Europe, resulting in its ranking among countries with the highest resistance rates. Professor Diamantis Plachouras, presenting the latest epidemiological data on antibiotic consumption and microbial resistance in Europe, highlighted the uncontrolled use of antibiotics in both human and veterinary settings.

The scientific event, organized by the Cyprus Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infections (CSCMI), addressed the need for awareness and strategies to improve antibiotic use. The event, held in collaboration with other medical societies, aimed to inform and renew goals for enhancing antibiotic usage.

Georgios Petríkkos, professor and president of CSCMI, emphasized the impact of climate change on the epidemiology of infections. He pointed out that climate change is a contributing factor to the development and spread of resistant microorganisms, presenting a challenging future. Predictive models suggest a bleak outlook for infection epidemiology, exacerbated by factors such as global overpopulation, urbanization, antibiotic use in agriculture, and geopolitical conflicts.

Dr. Marcella Markou, a clinical microbiologist and member of the National Committee for Microbial Resistance, discussed the adverse effects of antibiotic overuse in agriculture on human health. Referring to recent European reports, she noted that Cyprus once again holds the unfortunate lead in antibiotic use in animals, aquaculture, and agriculture.

Dr. Kostas Konstantinou, a pathologist and infectious disease specialist, provided updated data on adult vaccinations against pneumococcus. He highlighted the dual role of vaccination in reducing diseases and documented evidence of decreased antibiotic consumption.

Addressing antibiotic prescription practices in primary healthcare, Dr. Panagiotis Papastergiou, a pathologist and clinical microbiologist, estimated that approximately 70% of prescribed antibiotics in primary care are not indicated based on diagnosis, guidelines, antibiotic type, dosage, and treatment duration.

Intensivist-infectiologist Dr. Dimitrios Koukios focused on the increased use of antibiotics in intensive care units (ICUs) and the cross-transmission of resistant microorganisms among critically ill patients. He advocated for a careful and targeted approach to antibiotic use to mitigate the risk of developing and spreading resistant strains.

Finally, Dr. Anastasia Antoniadou, a pathologist and infectious disease specialist, emphasized the urgent need for antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals. She highlighted the high rates of antibiotic consumption, microbial resistance, and hospital-acquired infections in Cyprus, positioning it among the highest in Europe.

Cyprus  |  health  |  medicine  |  hospitals

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