One-third of Cypriots Don’t Know How Antibiotics Work
According to a Eurobarometer survey, 23% of Europeans have taken oral antibiotics in the past year. This is the lowest figure recorded since 2009. In Cyprus, it is slightly higher than the European average at 27%.
The frequent use of antibiotics as a universal remedy for any painful condition helps bacteria develop resistance to the drugs and evolve. Malta has the highest rate of taking antibiotics at 42%, while Sweden and Germany have the lowest at 15%. Cyprus, with 27%, is in the middle. On average in the EU, 8% of antibiotics taken by residents were bought without a doctor’s prescription, in Cyprus the figure did not exceed 6%. The survey also showed an alarming lack of awareness among citizens about the proper use of antibiotics. Half of respondents in the EU average and 34% of respondents in Cyprus believe that antibiotics are effective against viruses. Only three in 10 Europeans were aware that antibiotics should be discontinued only after completion of treatment and that antibiotics often cause side effects. 82 percent of those surveyed in the EU and 91 percent in Cyprus knew that using antibiotics unnecessarily makes them ineffective. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, more than 35,000 people die each year in the EU, Iceland and Norway from infections that have become resistant to antibiotics.
Such antimicrobial resistance is the next major public health crisis. European Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakidou made this statement on the occasion of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which falls on Nov. 18. “Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Overuse of antibiotics fuels drug resistance in bacteria,” Kyriakidou stressed, pointing out that this is the reason why antimicrobial resistance will be the next major health crisis. This phenomenon must be combated with a unified, holistic approach that includes the smarter use of antibiotics to treat humans and animals.