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European Commission

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UK researchers lead fight against drug-resistant bacteria

UK researchers are involved in more than a third of the 15 new EU-funded research projects on antimicrobial resistance announced recently by the European Commission. This news coincides with the publication of a survey showing a decrease in antibiotic use by people since 2009, and a growing awareness that antibiotics do not kill viruses.

However, this good news is overshadowed by data released from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which shows a marked increase in multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Slightly more UK respondents (41%) than the EU average (35%) have taken antibiotics in the past year, according to the survey. This represents a slight decrease (1%) since the last 2009 Eurobarometer survey (EU: -5%).

Importantly, fewer UK respondents than the EU average said they had taken antibiotics for flu – 13 and 18% respectively. Some 8% said they had been used for a sore throat (EU: 11%).

The main source of information about the unnecessary use of antibiotics comes from GPs (22%), followed by with TV adverts (19%) and newspaper articles/TV news (19%).

Unsurprisingly, doctors were voted as the most trusted source of information (88%), followed by pharmacies (51%). When questioned on antibiotic knowledge 32% of those surveyed in the UK got all questions correct, compared to an EU average of only 22%.

The announcements coincided with European Antibiotic Awareness Day on Monday, 18th November.

Published on: November 20, 2013

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