Taking antibiotics favours bacteria's resistance to them. Antibiotics are very useful medicines. To maintain their effectiveness, they have to be used correctly and only when necessary. Antibiotics are not effective against flu, bronchitis or colds.
Antibiotic resistance in Belgium
- Around 7% of patients in Belgian hospitals will have a care-associated infection, a large portion of which are linked to a resistant bacterium (KCE, 2007).
- The number of deaths each year due to a care-related infection is 2,600 (KCE, 2007).
- The risk of infection or of being a carrier of the bacterium MRSA increases by 30% as soon as a daily dose of antibiotics is absorbed (WIV-ISP, 2008).
- The risk of an MRSA infection: multiplies by 16 after a 16-day course of antibiotics (WIV-ISP, 2008).
- People staying in a residential or healthcare establishment have 3.5 times more risk of contracting an MRSA infection (WIV-ISP, 2008).
Antibiotic resistance in Europe and in the world
- According to the WHO, at least 50% of the antibiotics produced in the world are destined for animals.
- According to the ECDC, the countries that present the lowest levels of resistance are generally those that consume the fewest antibiotics (Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands).
- According to the ECDC, the countries where resistance is strongest are those countries that use the most antibiotics (Southern Europe).