Antimicrobial resistance is “often seen as the next big health crisis”, Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides said in a statement ahead of November 18th, European Antibiotics Awareness Day, commenting on a pan-European survey on antimicrobial resistance which has shown that half of Europeans still incorrectly believe that antibiotics kill viruses.
According to the Eurobarometer, only 34% in Cyprus (compared with 50% in the EU), falsely believe that antibiotics kill viruses, while 91% (82% in the EU) know that unnecessary use of antibiotics makes them become ineffective.
“Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Overusing antibiotics feeds the resistance of bacteria to our medicines” Commissioner Kyriakides underlined, adding that that is why antimicrobial resistance is often seen as the next big health crisis.
“The survey we present today shows why this risk exists” she added, pointing out that “the fight against the silent AMR pandemic must be tackled through a One Health approach, including the more prudent use of antibiotics in both humans and animals.”
“It is crucial for every citizen and every medical professional should be a part of this collective effort” she stressed.
According to the Eurobarometer survey presented by the Commission on Thursday, 23% of respondents have taken antibiotics over the past year, the lowest figure since 2009. According to the Commission, this percentage shows that the work of the Member States and the Commission to help raise awareness among citizens on the risks of excessive use of antibiotics is paying off, even though much more needs to be done.
Data published today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that, throughout the European Union, Iceland, and Norway, more than 35,000 people die each year due to antibiotic-resistant infections.