The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a strong warning cautioning against the abuse and misuse of antibiotics stressing that same is denting their efficacy and contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The warning came on Thursday following a survey conducted by the WHO’s European chapter on antibiotic usage patterns. The study, carried out in 14 countries mostly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia revealed concerning trends, indicating that antibiotics were frequently prescribed for conditions such as the common cold (24 per cent), flu-like symptoms (16 per cent), sore throat (21 per cent), and cough (18 per cent).
While highlighting the detrimental consequences of antibiotic misuse the health organization in a statement said “While AMR (antimicrobial resistance) is a natural phenomenon, the development and spread of superbugs are being accelerated by the misuse of antimicrobials, rendering infections more challenging to treat effectively.”
“All countries in our region have regulations in place to protect precious antibiotics from misuse… Enforcing these regulations would solve most antibiotic misuse,” Robb Butler, director of WHO Europe’s Division of Communicable Diseases said.
WHO cautioned that without speedy intervention, resistance to antimicrobials which includes antibiotics could lead to up to 10 million deaths a year by 2050.
The health organization referenced incorrect prescriptions as a “cause for concern,” saying in all 14 countries where they study was conducted a third of the roughly 8,200 persons surveyed had taken antibiotics without a medical prescription.
WHO also added that there were severe gaps in people’s knowledge about antibiotics, meaning they could be taking antibiotics for the wrong reason without realizing it.