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The overuse and misuse of antibiotics pose a serious danger to public health by contributing to the development of bacteria resistant to treatment. In 2001, the European Commission launched a strategy to combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance to human, animal and plant health, which includes data collection, surveillance, research, awareness-raising exercises and the phasing out of antibiotics for non-medical use in animals. The Council Recommendation on the prudent use of antibiotics in human medicine adopted in 2002 was a component in this strategy, outlining clear-cut measures in human medicine that EU Member States could take to reduce antimicrobial resistance. This report summarises the main actions taken at Member State and Community level and highlights the areas of the Recommendation needing further attention. The report outlines a variety of measures already taken by Member States in line with the Recommendation, including improved surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance, and closer cooperation between different professionals on this issue. Member States have taken good steps forward in putting measures in place against antimicrobial resistance. However, some key areas need to be better addressed, in particular infection control, reducing self-medication with antibiotics and educating health professionals and the general public on the proper use of antimicrobial treatments. The report remarks that self-medication with antibiotics is still a problem in many Member States: a ‘prescription-only’ approach should be strictly enforced and educational activities are needed.


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