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Antimicrobial resistance

AMRAntibiotics are one of the most important therapeutic discoveries in medical history. They have revolutionised the way we treat patients with bacterial infections and have contributed to reducing the mortality and morbidity from bacterial diseases. They are also an essential tool for modern medicine and common procedures such as transplantation, chemotherapy for cancer and even orthopaedic surgery could not be performed without the availability of potent antibiotics.

Unfortunately, antibiotics have been liable to misuse. They are often unnecessarily prescribed for viral infections, against which they have no effect.

Similarly when diagnoses are not accurately made, more often than not, broad-spectrum antibiotics, i.e. antibiotics that kill a large proportion of various bacteria and not only the bacteria responsible for the disease, are prescribed because the causative micro-organism is not known.

Misuse of antibiotics leads to the emergence and selection of resistant bacteria. Doctors in Europe and worldwide now are sometimes facing situations where infected patients cannot be treated adequately because the responsible bacterium is totally resistant to available antibiotics. Read more

Examples of common multi-drug resistant bacteria:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

  • Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)

  • Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae (examples of common Enterobacteriaceae are Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae)

  • Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (e.g. Klebsiella pneumonia)

  • Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa

  • Clostridium difficile



Directory of online resources for prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections now includes CRE, MRSA and CDI  
ECDC gathered guidance documents on prevention and control of infection with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), meticilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) that are available online and are published by EU/EEA Member States, ECDC, other agencies and professional societies. This online directory gives an overview of available documents with measures to prevent and control antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections.






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