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Resistance to last-line antibacterials is a serious problem for European health

For more and more infections in Europe, there is a risk of side effects, even if the most powerful last-line antibiotics are used. This fact is a serious problem which threatens patient safety in Europe.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) presented annual data on the state of antibiotic resistance in November 2014. The report points out that bacterial infections resistant to carbapenems - antibiotics that can be considered the last step in the fight against nosocomial infections - are increasingly common in the European Union.

Dr. Marc Sprenger, Director of ECDC, noted that there were fewer effective antibiotics remaining and that the Earth's population was gradually returning to the pre-antibiotic era where bacterial infections could not be treated and most patients have died.

For the first time (according to ECDC data), Klebsiella pneumoniae appears to be resistance to colistin, a powerful but already well-known antibiotic, and this is an alarming signal. According to published data, resistance to colistin in K. pneumoniae reaches a European level of 5%. K. pneumoniae is a common causative agent of pneumonia, urinary tract infections and sepsis in hospital patients. If antibiotics are not able to effectively treat this type of infectious disease, patients are hospitalized for a long time, their treatment costs increase and the risk of death increases considerably.

Colistin represents the last frontier in the fight against serious nosocomial infections. Colistin was created decades ago and has been actively used for a long time, but serious side effects have become restrictions on its use, especially since the 1980s. In the last century, carbapenems appeared for the treatment of infections serious. But time has passed and colistin is now coming back to treat infections caused by strains of carbapenem-resistant microorganisms, including K. pneumoniae.

ECDC data indicate that resistance to carbapenem in K. pneumoniae increased from 4.6% in 2010 to 8.3% in 2023 in some EU countries. The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis notes that a double increase in the resistance level of certain microorganisms in 3 years is a real danger and demonstrates the need for active measures in all areas.