November 10, 2009

Antibiotic Resistance A Major Problem In Europe

Using antibiotics to excess is causing extensive resistance in parts of Europe and may stop fundamental medical care like hip replacements, intensive care for premature children and cancer treatment, health experts announced.

Dominique Monnet of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) scientific counsel unit found that the "whole span of modern medicine" is being faced with danger because viruses are become defiant to antibiotic treatment, making the drugs ineffective.

"If this wave of antibiotic resistance gets over us, we will not be able to do organ transplants, hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, intensive care and neonatal care for premature babies," he stated to reporters at a press conference.

Antibiotics are required in all the above treatments to avoid bacterial disease. The drug-opposing bacteria are an increasing issue in hospitals around the world, like the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) superbug.

These kinds of infections destroy 25,000 people annually in Europe and 19,000 in the US.

Monnet also noted that the prices of antibiotic resistance medications were already smarting, and may plague healthcare budgets across the European Union if the crisis is not tackled.

The ECDC, which watches and offers counsel on disease in Europe, estimates that with one day in the hospital costing $548, superbug infections are costing $1.3 billion a year in additional hospital costs, and another $900 million a year in lost efficiency.

"Across the European Union the number of patients infected by resistant bacteria is increasing and that antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health," the ECDC said to Reuters News.

Britain's government was condemned by a parliamentary commission on Tuesday for not fighting the bulk of hospital-obtained infections by lessening its spotlight on MRSA and Clostridium difficult infections.

The ECDC is setting up an "antibiotic awareness" movement on November 18 to advise doctors to end the over prescription of antibiotics.
Patients requesting antibiotics for viral infections do not know that they will not always work.

Sarah Earnshaw of the ECDC's communications unit, referred to a 2002 examination that indicated 60% of patients are not aware that antibiotics do not fight viruses like the flu and the common cold.

"Patients often demand antibiotics," she said to Reuters News.

Doctors frequently think, she added, that compliance is a faster way to handle a challenging patient instead of convincing them otherwise.


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