Cyprus has been revealed as the leading country in antibiotic consumption in Europe during a scientific event organised by the Cyprus Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (CSCMID) that took place on Monday.

It also emerged that the excessive and uncontrolled use of antibiotics extends to the veterinary field.

The event was organised by the CSCMID, in collaboration with the Cyprus Society of Pathology, the Cyprus Paediatric Society, the Association of Microbiologists, and the Cyprus Society of Intensive Care, under the auspices of the health ministry and within the scope of the World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Professor Georgios Petrikkos, president of CSCMID, addressed the impact of climate change on infections and microbial resistance.

He stressed the detrimental effects of climate change on infection epidemiology, citing predictive models portraying a challenging future.

“Factors such as global overpopulation, urbanisation, antibiotic use in agriculture, and conflicts further exacerbate this situation,” Petrikkos said.

Clinical microbiologist Marcella Markou also highlighted the adverse effects of excessive antibiotic use in agriculture on human health.

Addressing vaccination against pneumococcus, pathologist and infectious disease specialist Costas Constantinou presented updated data and stressed the vital role of vaccines in reducing antibiotic consumption, aligning with the era’s focus on preventing diseases.

Furthermore, clinical microbiologist Panayiotis Papastergiou said that about 80 per cent of prescribed antibiotics are issued in primary care, with an estimated 70 per cent of these prescriptions not aligning with proper diagnosis, guidelines, type, dosage, or treatment duration.

Lastly, Anastasia Antoniadou, professor of pathology at the University of Cyprus Medical School, stressed the critical need for implementing hospital-based antibiotic stewardship programmes, given Cyprus’ high rates of antibiotic consumption, microbial resistance and hospital-acquired infections across Europe.

The collective discourse echoed urgent calls for strict measures to regulate antibiotic use across various sectors, emphasising the imperative to curb consumption and combat resistance in Cyprus.