This week, the World Antibiotic Awareness Week 18-24 of November, has been dedicated to raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published the first European survey, which examined healthcare workers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors on antibiotics, antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in the EU/EEA. More than 18 000 healthcare workers in 30 European Union/European Economic Activity countries participated in the online study. Survey results showed that knowledge and awareness of antibiotic resistance and related issues are generally high among European healthcare workers. However, the survey also revealed some knowledge gaps. For example, those working with a direct patient or public involvement do not always have easy access to clinical guidelines on infection management or materials they could give as advice on prudent antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. Some of the respondents (31%), who prescribe antibiotics, did not feel confident using antibiotic guidelines. Also, surprisingly many of the respondents (58%) did not see themselves having a key role in helping to control antibiotic resistance. The survey also provided suggestions for intervention, such as how to engage healthcare workers to understand their role in increasing awareness and knowledge of antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health. More than 670 000 infections occur in the EU/EEA due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and approximately 33 000 Europeans die to an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection yearly.