If the current trend continues there will be more deaths from a lack of resistance to antibiotics than cancer by 2050, the Cyprus Consumer Association claimed on Wednesday as it launched a new campaign.
Cyprus is the first to host a European campaign to raise awareness of the growing resistance to antibiotics which lasts until November 19.
“Microbial resistance and the development and spread of resistant microbes, due to the excessive and often unjustified use of antibiotics in humans and animals, is characterised as a major problem,” an announcement said.
“Antibiotics become ineffective when they are really needed, having an impact of high costs for medical care but also for the treatment of animals and other related problems.”
The association warned that the impact on public health was unfavourable as the therapeutic options even for common infections have become very limited and in some cases non-existent. In Europe, infections of resistant microbes are associated with 25,000 deaths and 1.5 billion euros, due to hospitalisation costs and productivity losses per year.
According to the statement, a survey conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has shown that only 25 per cent of EU consumers are aware of the relationship between the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, microbial resistance and development of resistant microbes.
In Cyprus, there is definitely room for improvement. According to a European report in 2013, Cyprus topped the list of EU countries regarding the use of antibiotics in animals. Cypriot farmers were using 408 mg antibiotics per kilo of meat, a little more than Italian (370 mg/kg), Spanish (249 mg/kg) and German farmers (211 mg/kg). Swedish farmers used the least at 13.6 milligrams of antibiotics per kilo of meat on average.
The campaign is in co-operation with the European Consumer Organisation started on September 4 and Cyprus is in charge for the first four days.