On 29 June, the European Commission adopted a new plan to tackle the rising threat from antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the human and veterinary sector. In Europe, approximately 25,000 people die each year from antimicrobial resistant infections. A survey published in 2016 found a 6% decrease in antibiotic use, even though some countries are still using a high number of antibiotics. The problem is knowledge in antimicrobial resistance remains low. A significant number of Europeans are still not aware that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses (57%) and cold / flu (44%).

The aim of the plan is to:

• boost awareness within the Community

• define a limited number of key outcome indicators for AMR

• make information available on AMR through the One Health network

The focus is on collecting data. This will be done by defining a limited number of key outcome indications, based on data already collected. The expected date of publication of these indicators is end of September.

The key outcome indicators will allow member states to assess the progress of their action plans on AMR. They will also help EU member states to:

• set measurable goals to reduce infections in both humans and animals

• to leverage the correct use of antibiotics in both humans and animals

• combat AMR in humans and animals

According to the EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, the new plan can only be successful with support from relevant stakeholders including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, governments and advisory bodies.

“Pressure from society to prescribe antibiotics is also very high in some countries” he noted, adding that the guidelines provide extensive training to doctors to “exercise prudence in the prescribing of antimicrobials”.