The World Health Organization (WHO) warns against the unreasonable use (overconsumption and / or underconsumption) of antibiotics as the main cause of antimicrobial resistance (ADR) and the emergence of potentially fatal "superbugs".
In a statement, the WHO warns of a dangerous increase in antibiotic use in some countries, but also for underconsumption in other regions, leading to the appearance of deadly bacteria.
According to Suzanne Hill, head of the WHO Essential Drugs Unit, "overconsumption and under-consumption of antibiotics are the main causes of ADR."
"Without effective antibiotics and other antimicrobials, we will lose our ability to treat generalized infections such as pneumonia," she said.
The WHO report, based on data collected from 2015 in 65 countries and regions, shows a significant difference in consumption, ranging from four set daily doses per thousand inhabitants per day in Burundi to more than 64 in Mongolia. "These differences indicate that some countries are likely to consume many antibiotics, while others may not have sufficient access to these drugs," the WHO said in the statement.
Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics are responsible for saving tens of millions of lives by effectively fighting bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis. In the course of the decades, however, bacteria have been adapted to withstand such medications.
The WHO has often warned that the world would no longer have effective antibiotics and last year the specialized UN agency called on countries and large pharmaceutical groups to develop a new generation of drugs capable of producing ultra-resistant "superbugs". fight.
Bacteria can become resistant when patients use antibiotics that do not need or complete treatment, allowing the bacteria to survive and develop immunity.
But the WHO is also concerned about the inadequate consumption of antibiotics.
"Resistance can occur when patients can not afford full treatment or access only lower-quality drugs or falsified quality," according to the WHO report.
In Europe, the average use of antibiotics reaches 18 defined doses per day per thousand inhabitants, with Turkey leading, with 38 doses, almost five times more than the previous one. ranking, Azerbaijan (eight doses).
However, the WHO recognizes that the report is incomplete because it comprises only four African countries, three from the Middle East and six from the Asia-Pacific region. The main absences of this study are the United States of America, China and India.