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Call for prudent antibiotic use in hospitals

The 2010 European Antibiotic Awareness Day, held every November, focuses on the promotion of prudent antibiotic use in hospitals

Each year, the European Antibiotic Awareness Day - a European public health initiative - takes place on November 18 and aims to raise awareness about the threat to public health of antibiotic resistance and prudent antibiotic use.

The objective of the 2010 European Antibiotic Awareness Day has been to give support to efforts made at national level to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use in hospitals through the development and dissemination of educational materials promoting prudent antibiotic use. 

To coincide with this year's European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) released new European-wide surveillance data on antibiotic resistance from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net). 

According to the latest data, the number of patients infected by resistant bacteria is increasing across the European Union, making antibiotic resistance a major threat to public health. 

It is believed that up to 50 per cent of antibiotic use in hospitals can be inappropriate and that the prudent use of antibiotics – ie, only using antibiotics when they are needed, with the correct dose, dosage intervals and duration of the course - could help prevent the emergence and selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition, the incidence of Clostridium difficile infections could be decreased.

Commenting on the initiative Marc Sprenger, ECDC director, said: "ECDC has been involved in co-ordinating the European Antibiotic Awareness Day since 2008. We are very proud that 36 countries are joining efforts to mark this day. Campaigns to promote prudent antibiotic use across Europe are bringing some good results, as in the case of MRSA. We are also happy that this year the United States' Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is being launched simultaneously during the week of November 18 in an effort to show global solidarity."

18th November 2010

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