EUROPE – A collaborative effort between the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has yielded insights into the relationship between antibiotic consumption and antibiotic resistance (AMR).

The fourth annual multiagency report underscores the importance of reducing antibiotic use in both humans and animals to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The report reveals a significant correlation between decreased antibiotic consumption and reduced levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Countries that have successfully curtailed antibiotic use in both humans and food-producing animals have witnessed a decline in antibiotic resistance. This trend highlights the potential for reversing concerning trends in AMR through appropriate actions and policies.

Embracing a One Health approach, the report emphasizes the interconnectedness of human and animal health.

By analyzing data collected between 2019 and 2021, the agencies shed light on the impact of antibiotic consumption on AMR in Escherichia coli, a common bacterium found in both humans and animals.

Markedly, the period from 2014 to 2021 saw a substantial 44 percent decrease in antibiotic consumption in food-producing animals.

Interconnectedness of antibiotic resistance

The report highlights the interconnectedness of antibiotic resistance between humans and food-producing animals. Bacterial resistance in humans may be attributed to bacteria originating from food-producing animals, underscoring the need for comprehensive surveillance and control measures.

Antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli from humans is linked to the use of specific antibiotic groups, such as carbapenems and cephalosporins.

Similarly, antibiotic use in food-producing animals is correlated with resistance in Escherichia coli isolated from these animals. The findings stress the importance of prudent antibiotic use to mitigate the development of antibiotic resistance.

In light of the findings, the collaborating agencies call for continued efforts to address AMR at national, EU, and global levels. They advocate for harmonized surveillance of antimicrobial consumption and resistance and urge targeted studies to deepen understanding of AMR spread.

The report also encourages further analysis by researchers and experts, with the statistical code used for the analyses made publicly available for the first time.

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