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World Health Day 2011 – Antibiotic resistance: No action today, no cure tomorrow


07 Apr 2011


Health & Consumers

The health of people in Europe is threatened by a growing phenomenon: bacteria that cause common and life-threatening infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics – the medicines used to treat them. This is due to the widespread use and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals. This is an urgent problem, and is why antimicrobial resistance is the focus of World Health Day 2011.

In the European Region, antibiotic resistance is the special focus.
At present, every year 25 000 people in the European Union die because of a serious resistant bacterial infection mostly acquired in health care settings. Without new and effective antibiotics, but with increasing resistance, society could return to the conditions of a pre-antibiotic era, when a simple lung infection could kill a child, or when doctors could not fight meningitis. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is another example of this emerging health threat.

WHO calls on the public, prescribers, policy-makers, the pharmaceutical industry and the food animal production sector, to take action – prescribe and use antibiotics responsibly, monitor and track antibiotic usage and resistance, and promote the development of new antibiotic medicines.

To mark World Health Day and raise awareness about the risk of using and misusing antibiotics, WHO is promoting activities and campaigns across the Region. WHO/Europe is organizing and supporting key events in Moscow (Russian Federation), Strasbourg (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Rome (Italy), and London (United Kingdom).


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