The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the misuse of antibiotics is affecting their effectiveness and leading to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria. This alarming trend could potentially result in 10 million deaths globally by 2050. The misuse of antibiotics is a serious concern that needs to be addressed to prevent the proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria and safeguard public health.
Antibiotics misuse in Europe alarming
A study conducted by WHO’s European chapter revealed that antibiotics were frequently prescribed for conditions such as the common cold (24%), sore throat (21%), cough (18%), and flu-like symptoms (16%). The survey encompassed 14 countries, primarily in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
WHO has emphasized that while antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural occurrence, the misuse of antimicrobials is speeding up the development and spread of superbugs. This misuse makes infections more difficult to treat effectively. The WHO’s European region, which consists of 53 countries, including some in Central Asia, is particularly affected by this issue. It is crucial to address the misuse of antimicrobials to combat the emergence of superbugs and ensure effective treatment for infections.
All nations within region have implemented guidelines to safeguard valuable antibiotics from inappropriate use. The effective enforcement of these regulations could effectively address the majority of issues related to antibiotic misuse.
Prompt interventions necessary to prevent antibiotics misuse
WHO warns that without prompt intervention, the emergence of resistance to antimicrobials, including antibiotics, may result in a potential annual toll of up to 10 million deaths by the year 2050. Furthermore, in certain nations, the misuse of antibiotics reached alarming levels, with over 40 percent of these medications being used without the guidance of medical professionals
On the flip side, a comparable study carried out within the European Union in the year 2022 revealed that a mere 8%of participants utilized antibiotics without a valid prescription.
Additionally, WHO highlighted substantial deficiencies in individuals’ understanding of antibiotics, potentially leading them to misuse antibiotics unknowingly.
Director of WHO Europe’s Division of Communicable Diseases, Robb Butler said that the study unequivocally underscores the imperative for educational initiatives and heightened awareness.