Around 25000 lives are lost every year in the European Union due to antimicrobial resistance. In the world, every year 700000 people die and experts estimate that, by 2050, this will cause more deaths than cancer, unless drastic measures are taken.
The most important way to prevent this is to stop the irresponsible use of antibiotics. Their excessive use speeds up the development of resistant bacteria and reduces the effectiveness of these medications. All this jeopardizes the basis of the medical system.
The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) believes the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics will increase at such rate that usual infections could become lethal in the next 20 years.
BEUC further added that the transplantation of stem cells or bone marrow, chemotherapy and other therapies that weaken the immune system, will be impossible to perform without antibiotics.
One of the main reasons for the increase of resistance is the use of antimicrobial medications, including antibiotics, in animal farms. Animals are often treated with antibiotics for prevention and not because they are sick.
BEUC stated the current legal regulations allow healthy chickens, pigs or cows to be treated with antibiotics for preventive reasons.
Treating animals with antibiotics contributes to the development of the resistant bacteria which can be spread to humans through the food chain.
According to BEUC, if we do not solve this problem quickly, the society could return to the times before the development of modern medicine because benign injuries could become lethal again.
Many countries are undertaking different measure to combat this rising problem, but the cooperation between them is essential.