With more than 1,500 deaths reported annually from infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Greece is second behind Italy among European Union countries that are facing a health crisis, according to survey data presented in Brussels – ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Sunday – by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
According to the latest data, around 33,000 European die each year due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Furthermore, experts warn that if preventive measures are not taken to stem the improper use of antibiotics, the annual death rate in Europe, North America and Australia will reach 2.4 million people by 2050.
The survey found that 32 percent of EU residents had taken antibiotics in the last 12 months – 20 percent to deal with a common cold or the flu. Seven percent had taken antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.
The data also showed that while 85 percent of people in the EU said they are aware of the risks involved, 70 percent admitted that this knowledge has not made them change the way they consume antibiotics.
ECDC director Andrea Ammon said that the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is not only taking a heavy toll on human lives, but also on Europe’s national healthcare systems, costing them some 1 billion euros per year.