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EFSA report unveils new resistant bacteria threats

Staff Writer | February 25, 2017
The latest report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by the EU’s food safety agency EFSA has found evidence of bacteria in humans, animals and food in Europe which are resistant to widely used treatments and even last-resort drugs on which human medicine relies.
Resistant bacteria threats
Disease   The first-ever harmonised testing
The EFSA report, produced in conjunction with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), concludes that the findings represent a serious threat to human and animal health in Europe.

Worryingly, results of the first-ever harmonised testing of antibiotic resistance in E. coli bacteria from fattening pigs, included in this year’s report, showed that resistance in British pigs was the 9th highest of the 29 countries where testing was carried out.

In contrast, resistance in pig E. coli samples was lowest in northern Scandinavian countries, where pig farming is less intensive and farm antibiotic use is exceptionally low by European standards.

Infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria already kill an estimated 700,000 people each year (and are implicated in around 25,000 deaths in the EU annually).

The government's O'Neill report on AMR, released last year, warned that widespread resistance by mid-century could make some simple medical procedures unviable and see the death toll linked to drug resistant bugs rising to 10 million people per year, unless immediate and concerted action is taken by governments and sector leaders.