Greece is the leading country within the European Union for excessive use of antibiotics according to Kyriaki Kanellakopoulou, Professor of Infectious Diseases pathology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
According to the data, 68% of Greeks take antibiotics every year, compared to a mere 3% of people in Finland who do the same.
Kanellakopoulou made the claim on Tuesday during her press conference ahead of World Antibiotic Awareness Week in Athens, warning that the phenomenon actually threatens public health since the microbes develop a high resistance to antibiotics.
Notably, the pneumococcal germ has gained a 40% resistance to antibiotics, so half of those infected by it will not be cured by them. Another set, coliform bacteria, commonly present in urinary tract infections, have gained a 15% resistance to antibiotics.
The consequence of over-consumption is “ruining the antibiotical effect” and “raises germs’ resistance,” creating new strains that are passed on, warned Kanellakopoulou.
The study also found that in 70% of cases, Greeks use them to battle simple daily winter viruses that bring coughing, a sore throat and nasal congestion, symptoms that do not even require a physician’s help, “as they just buy them at the local chemist’s, without prescriptions,” said Kanellakopoulou.
World Antibiotic Awareness Week is observed on November 18-24 and aims to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance among the general public, health workers and policymakers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.