Antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections are among the most frequently used drugs worldwide. Verifiable relationships exist between their use and the accumulation of instances of antimicrobial resistance: the more often antibiotics from a particular group of drugs are used in humans or animals, the more frequently bacterial pathogens are later found to be insensitive to these substances. For World Health Day on 7th April 2011, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chose the theme "Antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow". In 2012, the Ministers of Health from the EU Member States issued a declaration in which was emphasised that this increasing resistance to antibiotics is an ever more serious health problem for man and animal alike leading to limited or inadequate treatment options and thus reducing quality of life.
Monitoring the resistance situation
Resistant bacteria can be found in the environment, animals, food and in humans. The situation regarding antimicrobial resistance and the use of anti-microbial drugs in human and veterinary medicine and in the food industry in Austria has been published every year since 2005 in the form of the Austrian Antibiotic Resistance Report (AURES).
Tests for the purpose of epidemiological monitoring of transferable and non-transferable infectious diseases are conducted in the AGES Reference Centres. In addition to pathogen detection and typing, data is also collected on antimicrobial resistance. The results of these tests are fed into the AURES Report and are published as part of the annual reports.
In a joint pilot project involving AGES, Austrian Hospitals and Charité Berlin a uniform antibiotic usage reporting process is to be established for the whole of Austria within healthcare facilities and hospitals to provide a statistically reliable basis for the management and prudent use of antibiotics.
Monitoring of the resistance situation in Europe
Bacteria in humans and animals, as well as in foods continue to show resistance to the most commonly used antimicrobial agents, according to the recent European Union summary report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2014. The level of resistance in Campylobacter to ciprofloxacin is very high. Multi-drug-resistant Salmonella bacteria are continuing to spread further across Europe.
The EFSA and ECDC have warned of increasing antibiotic resistance in the European Union.