New insights on perceptions of antimicrobial resistance

Do you think enough is being done to control or prevent overuse of antibiotics in farm animals? Do antibiotics kill viruses? These are some of the questions that EFSA asked farmers, veterinarians and consumers through its survey aimed at gauging awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across the EU.

The project manager, Shira Tabachnikoff, said: “This is the first time that a survey on awareness on AMR has been carried out among farmers and veterinarians. The scale of the survey was small, but the results still offer insights that can inform Member States’ communication strategies.”

The survey highlights that there is a lack of awareness on antimicrobial resistance among consumers and that veterinarians and farmers observed a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics on pigs and poultry.

The survey collected data from just over 3,000 consumers in 12 countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Estonia, and Romania) and 60 farmers and veterinarians in five countries (Denmark, Poland, Spain, Romania, and United Kingdom).

These results are in line with the information gathered by the Eurobarometer survey on AMR published by the European Commission in June 2016. 

AMR: Next steps

EFSA, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) are working on a report that assesses the link between consumption of antimicrobials and development of resistance in bacteria found in animals and humans – due to be published at the end of July 2017.

By the end of 2017, the three agencies will propose, at the request of the European Commission, a list of indicators enabling risk managers to monitor the reduction of antimicrobial resistance and the use of antimicrobials in humans, food-producing animals and food.

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