Radical hospital hygiene reform needed in Europe

27th of December 2017
Radical hospital hygiene reform needed in Europe

Antimicrobial resistance could cause more deaths than cancer in Europe by 2050, according to experts. But improved hand hygiene could have a significant impact on the figures.

Public Health England claims that a failure to address antimicrobial resistance could result in an estimated 10 million deaths a year worldwide by 2050 with the cost in lost productivity amounting to around €74.5 trillion.

According to the European commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis: "With increasing resistance even to last-line antibiotics we face a frightening future where routine surgery, childbirth, pneumonia and even skin infections could once again become life-threatening."

Meanwhile, the UN Environment Assembly believes there is a direct link between the discharge of drugs into the environment and the rise of resistant microorganisms.

The assembly claims that up to 80 per cent of consumed antibiotics are excreted un-metabolised along with resistant bacteria - adding that this is a growing problem since human antibiotic use has increased 36 per cent this century.

However, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) claims that effective management of antibiotics can halve the number of people who contract drug-resistant infections in hospital. And in a study published in the Lancet, NICE reports that the number of people experiencing drug-resistant infections dropped even further when infection-control measures such as good hand hygiene were implemented.

"Stewardship programmes only work when everyone is on the same page," said NICE deputy chief executive Gillian Leng. "It can be hard work, but this new research shows the difference we can make when we work together."




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