Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the European Region

Monitoring programmes represent an important component in the prevention and control of antibiotic resistance. In 2007, WHO/Europe conducted a survey among its 53 Member States on national monitoring programmes of antibiotic usage in animals and resistance in relation to food safety.

Based on a response rate of 72% of Member States, results indicated that national public health and food safety authorities needed to take action to ensure the implementation of proper risk management actions for containment of antibiotic resistance.

At the time of the survey, only 50% of responding countries monitored antibiotic resistance in bacteria from food animals, and only 39% monitored antibiotic usage in food animals. Five countries responded that a prescription is not needed for use of antibiotics in food animals, whereas several other countries did not respond to this question.

In the European Union

The Zoonoses Monitoring Directive 2003/99/EC requires countries to report to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the occurrence of antibiotic resistance in Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. from certain food animals and foodstuffs.

The EFSA report on antibiotic resistance for 2011 shows that a relatively high proportion of Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp. and E. coli isolates from animals and food were resistant to antibiotics commonly used for treating human diseases. In particular, the reported occurrence of resistance to antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones (e.g. ciprofloxacin) in Campylobacter spp. isolates from broiler meat is of concern and is commonly reported in Campylobacter jejuni isolates at an average level of 50%.