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About the programme

Head of programme: Dominique L. Monnet

Programme Manager: Egle Obcarskaite

 

Background 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are among the most serious public health problems, globally and in Europe. ECDC estimated that approximately 4 million patients acquire a HAI each year in all EU Member States and that approximately 37,000 deaths directly result from these infections. A large proportion of these deaths are due to the most common multidrug-resistant bacteria, i.e. Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa for which the number of directly attributable deaths is currently estimated at 25,000. The issues of AMR and HAI overlap widely, but are not synonymous. HAI are often due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but not always. Inversely, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including multidrug resistant types, are not only responsible for HAI but are also responsible for infections in outpatients and found as part of the flora of healthy individuals, in pet animals and in the environment. They are also isolated from food-producing animals and sometimes from food products.

 

In November 2001, the EU Health Ministers adopted the Council Recommendation on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine (2002/77/EC). In June 2009 they adopted the Council Recommendation on patient safety, including the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections (2009/C 151/01). These Recommendations ask Member States to adopt and implement specific strategies for the prudent use of antimicrobial agents - aiming at containing antimicrobial resistance, and for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections - aiming at improving patient safety.

Objectives of the programme

Based on the ECDC Strategies for Disease Specific Programmes (2010-2013), the objectives of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (ARHAI) programme are:

1. To improve coordination, methods and capacities for surveillance of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI.

The programme is responsible for the coordination of surveillance of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI in the European Union. The programme aims for continuous development of the three surveillance networks:

  • European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net)
    The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) collects and analyses data on AMR from national surveillance systems. The results contribute to greater public awareness and scientific understanding of AMR and its importance in public health.
  • European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network (ESAC-Net, formerly ESAC)
    The European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network (ESAC-Net, formerly ESAC) collects and analyses data on antimicrobial consumption from Member States, both in the community and in the hospital sector. The aim is to provide timely information on antimicrobial consumption and increase public awareness.
  • Healthcare-Associated Infections Network (HAI-Net) 
    The Healthcare-Associated Infections Network (HAI-Net) collects surveillance data of surgical site infections and HAI in intensive care units. HAI-Net also coordinates point prevalence surveys of HAI and antimicrobial use in European acute care hospitals and promotes repeated prevalence surveys of HAI and antimicrobial use in European long-term care facilities. Finally, HAI-Net supports capacity building for surveillance of Clostridium difficile infections at European level.

2. To manage an Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS): a web-based platform for rapid communication on AMR and HAI events between competent bodies and experts.

ECDC runs a module of the Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS) real-time communication platform specifically designed for secure and rapid exchange of AMR and HAI information between Member States and ECDC. The EPIS AMR-HAI module focuses on health threats related to microorganisms with previously unreported or emerging AMR, as well as to HAI that are or may become relevant for public health in the EU. It is expected that this new module of EPIS will ensure coordination and strengthen collaboration between Member States on the early detection of AMR and HAI threats to enable timely response.

3. To provide evidence-based guidance and systematic reviews on the prevention and control of AMR and HAI in healthcare settings and in the community.

The programme supports Member States in implementing Council Recommendations (2002/77/EC and 2009/C151/01) by providing evidence-based guidance and systematic reviews. It also supports the Commission in its evaluation of the implementation of these Council Recommendations.

4. To contribute to training on surveillance, prevention and control of AMR and HAI.

The programme organises short courses on surveillance, prevention and control issues related to AMR and HAI. It also supports an assessment of infection control training needs in Europe.

5. To support Member States activities in the field of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI.

ECDC supports Member States national efforts in the field of AMR, antimicrobial consumption and HAI through country visits and the organisation of meetings of national focal points. Main objectives of the meetings are promoting the coordination of activities and sharing of experience and best practices among Member States and ECDC.

6. To coordinate the European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November.

6. To coordinate the European Antibiotic Awareness Day on  18 November.
Since the first European Antibiotic Awareness Day in 2008, 37 countries have developed national campaigns and other activities to raise awareness about the prudent of use of antibiotics. European Antibiotic Awareness Day provided key messages and template campaign materials targeting the general public, primary care and hospital prescribers in 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. In 2011, European Antibiotic Awareness Day emphasised the increasing resistance to last-line antibiotics such as carbapenems in Europe. ECDC in collaboration with Euronews released a documentary featuring European patients and their stories on how infection with such multidrug-resistant bacteria had affected their lives.
 

 

Programme specific activities

 

 Health topic  Surveillance network Initiative/tool
Antimicrobial resistance

European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net)

European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network (ESAC-Net, formerly ESAC)

European Antibiotic Awareness Day

EPIS for AMR and HAI

 

Healthcare-associated infections Healthcare-Associated Infections Network (HAI-Net) 
Triazole-resistantAspergillus spp.

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