Antibiotic resistant bugs worry doctors


MORE THAN one in five intensive care doctors working in hospitals across Europe are now seeing patients with bugs that are “totally or almost totally” resistant to antibiotics, according to a new survey.

The survey, to be published later this month, will show 21 per cent of 95 intensive care specialists across Europe who responded to a questionnaire distributed on behalf of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) saw three or more patients over the last six months with infections that were totally or almost totally antibiotic resistant.

Some 8 per cent said they had seen more than 10 patients and another 13 per cent said they had seen between three and 10 patients who fell into this category. The survey was conducted in advance of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which takes place on November 18th.

Dr Dominique Monnet, co-ordinator of the antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections programme at ECDC, said more data on the situation reported by specialists in countries including Ireland would be available later in the month.

He said the countries using most antibiotics had most antibiotic resistance. The Netherlands has least problems with resistance while countries like Greece and Cyprus have most. He warned that “if we lose it with antibiotics”, much of modern medicine such as hip operations and organ transplants will not be possible.

Meanwhile, he said a new analysis of the burden of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections each year across the EU had estimated 400,000 patients a year were being diagnosed with multi-drug resistant bacterial infections, about 25,000 were dying from these infections each year and many more were dying as a result of a combination of the infections and their underlying illness.

He urged more prudent use of antibiotics by doctors and patients – only prescribing them when necessary – and using them in the correct dose, at correct intervals, for the time prescribed to combat the problem, as well as creating better infection-control procedures.