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Infection in EU hospitals growing threat


8 June, 2007  

One in 10 patients entering a hospital in Europe is likely to catch an infection, say European Union (EU) health officials.

A report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says that every year about three million people in EU countries catch a disease through healthcare services.

“This report shows that healthcare-associated infections have become a major issue of concern in the EU, with many of these caused by new or emerging drug resistant microbes,” said Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health, when talking to Reuters, Health.

The ECDC blames the rising use of antibiotics for the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.

In its report the ECDC stated: “If the current rise in drug resistance among microbes is not halted, mankind will lose one of its more important weapons against infectious diseases.”

It adds that while EU states are generally successful in preventing infectious diseases, there is no room for complacency.

“The majority of deaths in EU countries are caused by non-infectious diseases such as cancer and heart disease. That said, the threat posed by infections cannot be underestimated,” says the ECDC.

Rising rates of HIV, tuberculosis, influenza and pneumococcal infections were listed as key areas of concern.

ECDC director, Zsuzanna Jakob, said: “We need better and more comparable data at the EU level, which means that we need to further strengthen the European surveillance system and also the preparedness.”

European Center for Disease Prevention and Control