AMR in the WHO European Region


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and resistance to antibiotics in particular, is a serious threat to public health in the Region.

The resistance of some pathogens now reaches over 50% in some countries of the Region, and new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading rapidly. The situation is especially worrying for gram-negative bacteria, such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.

The Region also displays great variation on AMR data depending on the bacterium, antimicrobial group and geographical region. These variations are most likely related to differences in antimicrobial use, infection control and health care utilization practices in countries.

Consumption of antibiotics decreased by 6% overall in the European Union (EU) over the last 7 years, but there are large differences between countries: since 2013, Denmark, Latvia, the Netherlands and Romania decreased consumption by up to 9%, while Italy and Spain increased consumption by up to 9%.

Every year in the EU alone, an estimated 25 000 patients die as a result of infections that cannot be treated with antimicrobial drugs. Infections due to these selected multidrug-resistant bacteria in the EU result in extra health care costs and productivity losses of at least €1.5 billion each year.