EFSA release new report about antibiotics use
Experts highlight that there are still important differences across the EU in the use of antibiotics in animals and humans. Cutting their unnecessary use will have an impact on the occurrence of resistance. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “To contain antibiotic resistance we need to fight on three fronts at the same time: human, animal and the environment. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve in the EU and globally with our recently launched EU Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance. This new report confirms the link between antibiotic consumption and antibiotic resistance in both humans and food-producing animals.”
The report is the result of close cooperation between the three EU agencies, each drawing on their specific expertise and data from monitoring of antibiotic resistance and antibiotic consumption in animals and humans.
Overall antibiotic use is higher in food-producing animals than in humans, but the situation varies across countries and classes of antibiotics. In particular, a class of antibiotics called polymyxins (which includes colistin) is used widely in the veterinary sector. It is also increasingly used in hospitals to treat multidrug-resistant infections. Other antibiotics are more often used in humans than in animals. These include third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins and quinolones, antibiotics that are also considered critically important for human health.
The report notes that resistance to quinolones, used to treat salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis in humans, is associated with use of antibiotics in animals. The use of third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins for the treatment of infections caused by E. coli and other bacteria in humans is associated with resistance to these antibiotics in E. coli found in humans.
Experts of the three agencies recommend further research to better understand how the use of antibiotics and resistance affect one another.