Greece Leads EU in Deaths Linked to Antibiotic Abuse


In a concerning revelation, Greece has emerged as the frontrunner among European Union nations in deaths caused by multi-resistant microbes, largely attributed to antibiotic misuse.

The gravity of the situation was underscored by scientists participating in a workshop co-organised by the Hellenic Intermunicipal Network of Healthy Cities (EDDYPPY), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Athens Medical Association (ASA), and the Hellenic Society of Chemotherapy (SCC).

The workshop emphasised the critical need for accurate information dissemination, especially through journalism, regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics and the importance of vaccination.

According to Eleni Yamarellou, Professor of Pathology-Infectious Diseases at the University of Athens and coordinator of the Study Group of the Hellenic Society of Chemotherapy, Greece recorded 2,000 deaths from multi-resistant microbes in the EU in 2020, a stark contrast to the 100 deaths reported in Norway and 300 in Sweden. Yamarellou presented statistical data highlighting Greece's consistent ranking as the top EU country in antibiotic overuse since 2011, leading to the development of antimicrobial resistance in the community. She stressed the importance for physicians to adhere to prescribed guidelines to curb antibiotic abuse.

Professor Kyriaki Kanellakopoulou of the University of Athens and member of the Hellenic Society of Chemotherapy Group shared polls which revealed a concerning increase in antibiotic usage, with 75% of Greeks reported taking antibiotics in 2023, up from 50% in 2013. Alarmingly, 16% admitted obtaining antibiotics without a prescription, while one in three respondents (32%) admitted to keeping antibiotics at home for emergencies.

Despite awareness of antibiotic overuse and the necessity of a prescription, half of the respondents indicated their willingness to take antibiotics for conditions like a cold. Such indiscriminate antibiotic use, as noted by experts, not only renders individuals vulnerable but also contributes to antimicrobial resistance, potentially leading to loss of life.

Dr. Emmanuel Andreadis, Chief Medical Officer of EDOEAP, addressed the misinformation surrounding vaccination programs, stressing its role in the resurgence of previously eradicated diseases such as measles.

The collective consensus among experts underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts to combat antibiotic misuse and promote responsible healthcare practices to mitigate the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance in Greece and beyond.

(Source: Amna)

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