[ Director: Mário Frota [ Coordenador Editorial: José Carlos Fernandes Pereira [ Fundado em 30-11-1999 [ Edição III [ Ano X

quarta-feira, 28 de junho de 2017

Antibiotic resistance is the best case for ‘more Europe’

 
DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.
The European Commission will publish a new Action Plan against antimicrobial resistance on 29 June.
[Penn State/Flickr]

Nina Renshaw is secretary seneral of the European Public Health Alliance.

“I’d never heard of resistant bacteria before. Colectiv has brought them to the surface,” said Eugen Iancu, father of 22-year-old Alexandru who died following a fire at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania just over a year ago. Sixty-four people died. The majority of the young victims including Alexandru would likely have survived their injuries but died days or even weeks after the fire as a result of infections, many of them resistant to one or more types of antibiotics.

As hospitals in Romania were overwhelmed, especially as the victims’ conditions deteriorated with drug-resistant infections, the patients were sent to specialist burns units around Europe. Thirty-nine victims were transferred for treatment abroad, including eight to Brussels, others to the Netherlands, France, Germany, the UK, and Austria, amongst others. All eight who arrived in Brussels were carrying multi-drug resistant bacteria. The situation was described as a “bacteriological bomb” by a surgeon.
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EU health chief: Commission is stepping up antimicrobial resistance fight

The European Commission will increase pressure on the member states to better coordinate their national action plans to tackle antimicrobial resistance, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said in an interview with EURACTIV.com.

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As EU institutions mull their own future, the scenarios presented by President Juncker mean much more than political life or death. European cooperation on health has saved countless lives. The EU should take credit where it’s overdue on health: EU rules have ensured that our medicines are safer in the wake of the thalidomide scandal; removed poisonous and carcinogenic substances from products, air and water; coordinated measures that have prevented tens of thousands of road deaths and many more from tobacco; installed food hygiene standards that means that the likes of salmonella scandals are today few and far between; and supported world-leading research into prevention and treatment of cancer and dementia, for example. The EU’s Health Security Committee coordinates preparedness against health threats, including Ebola, Zika, and many much closer to home like flu epidemics, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs.

A painful lesson not yet learned from the Colectiv tragedy is that closer European cooperation is inevitably and urgently needed to avoid catastrophes of an even greater scale in the near future.

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