Cyprus first in the use of antibiotics – Enlightenment campaign announced

On an annual basis, 1 in 2 citizens takes antibiotics

Screenshot 1 3 antibiotics, Cyprus

On an annual basis, 1 in 2 citizens takes antibiotics, with the result that Cyprus consumes more antibiotics compared to the rest of the European countries, it was said at a press conference for the announcement of the Enlightenment and Awareness Campaign for the correct use of antibiotics organized by the Cyprus Pathological Society, the Pediatric Society of Cyprus and the Cyprus Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infections.

In his speech, the President of the Cyprus Pathological Society, Andreas Stylianou, said that the infections that occur both in patients treated in hospitals and in patients outside the hospital, in a significant percentage, are caused by microbes resistant to antibiotics.

A significant percentage of citizens, he noted, buy antibiotics from the pharmacy without a medical prescription.

He said that 30% of citizens keep antibiotics at home for emergencies and use them without a doctor's advice, i.e. self-medication, while 80% of citizens mistakenly believe that antibiotics are effective against viruses.

"The resistance of microbes to antibiotics is constantly increasing, with the result that many infections are caused by microbes resistant to all antibiotics. According to predictions by expert scientists, if the problem is not addressed immediately, by 2050 10.000.000 people will die every year around the world from infections caused by multi-resistant microbes," he said.

Dr. Stylianou pointed out that antibiotics should not be taken for infections caused by viruses, such as the flu, the common cold, and most sore throats and gastroenteritis

"The incorrect and reckless use of antibiotics results in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant microbes that replace the sensitive microbes that live in our normal flora, i.e. in the mouth, pharynx, nose, intestinal tract, vagina, urethra and skin ", write down.

He pointed out that infections from resistant microbes can cause serious complications and even death, while prolonging hospital stays, increasing the cost of hospitalization

For our country, he continued, the problem is even more serious because both Cyprus and Greece at the European level have the highest consumption of antibiotics in the community, and resistance of microbes to antibiotics.

He pointed out that antibiotics have absolutely no effect on viruses but are only effective on infections caused by microbes.

"In the winter months, >90% of upper respiratory infections in adults and children are caused by viruses (e.g. common cold, pharyngitis) and the use of antibiotics to treat them is unnecessary and dangerous. The same applies to gastroenteritis, especially in the summer, where most of them are also caused by viruses. The sinusitis is proof that I don't need antibiotics, since it is caused by viruses. The best way to deal with viruses such as colds, coughs and sore throats is to rest, drink plenty of fluids and use antipyretics, pain relievers and decongestants carefully," he added.

The largest percentage of unnecessary consumption of antibiotics concerns upper respiratory tract infections in children and adults and especially acute pharyngotonsillitis, which is mainly caused by viruses

The President of the Cyprus Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, George Petrikkos, in his own speech, stated that patients receiving antibiotics are vulnerable to colonization or infection by resistant pathogens. They are also the reservoir from which resistant microbes will likely be transmitted to the familiar environment or to those co-hospitalized with these patients.

At the same time, he continued, the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, agriculture and fish farming has significantly contributed to the worsening of this unpleasant fact and together with climate change and population movements makes solving the problem more difficult.

"The latest epidemiological data on antibiotic consumption and antimicrobial resistance in Europe and the recent impact of the pandemic showed that unfortunately Cyprus has the sad privilege of being the first in antibiotic consumption, resulting in its ranking among the countries with the highest rates of resistance in Europe. Large quantities of antibiotics are also consumed uncontrollably in animal husbandry, fish farming and agriculture," he added.

Dr. Petrikkos pointed out that infections caused by multi-resistant microbes are a major threat to public health internationally. It is estimated, he continued, that in the EU these infections affect >4,5 million patients/year and cause 37.000 deaths/year as well as 16 million additional hospital days/year at an additional cost of >900 million euros and productivity losses of at least 1,5, XNUMX billion euros every year.

He said the 2022 Special Eurobarometer on antimicrobial resistance revealed a lack of knowledge about antibiotics in the EU, with only half of respondents knowing that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, and that there were still large differences between member states. in terms of raising awareness among citizens of the Union. In addition, almost one in ten EU citizens take antibiotics without a prescription.

These results, he continued, demonstrate the need to increase and improve communication and awareness activities about antimicrobial resistance and the prudent use of antimicrobials at all levels, as a means of promoting knowledge and behavior change.

"Citizens should be informed that antibiotics are not harmless drugs but are often characterized by serious side effects. Therefore, the use of antibiotics left over at home or taken according to the opinion and experience of the intimate environment, relatives and friends, is a dangerous practice and endangers individual health as well as public health", he added.

Source: KYPE