Sooner dangerous than cancer?
More and more people are dying from resistant germs. They lurk in hospitals and in factory farming. And even those who are prescribed antibiotics too often are at risk. More precisely, this means that the risk that more and more pathogens will become immune to the once so helpful drug is increasing. The threatening situation was already debated at the G7 conference in 2015. Necessary countermeasures include more careful hygiene measures in hospitals and an even more careful use of antibiotics. If these changes are not implemented as soon as possible, according to the analysis of a Berlin researcher, there will be a significant increase in fatalities.
449 tons of antibiotics
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the Germans swallowed a total of 449 tons of antibiotics in 2013 (antibiotic ointments and drops were not included). A report by the Paul Ehrlich Institute shows that the total consumption in practices and clinics is between 700 and 800 tons per year. The numbers are even higher for animals. The total annual consumption here is around 1,700 tons.
North Rhine-Westphalia is the nationwide leader in antibiotic consumption (per person). In eastern Germany, much less is prescribed. Children are most often given antibiotics, in adults (between 20 and 90) the amount is independent of age.
Europe: 700,000 deaths annually
On behalf of the Greens in the Bundestag, Elisabeth Meyer from the Charité Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine warns that the worldwide number of fatalities may increase from 700,000 to 10 million annually by 2050. In Europe alone, it would mean an increase from 23,000 to 400,000 deaths a year. Thus, more people would die of multi-resistant germs than cancer, the author says.
Germany: 15,000 deaths annually
According to the Federal Ministry, between 400,000 and 600,000 patients in Germany alone develop dangerous infections caused by medical treatments. Around 15,000 die from the consequences.
The pathogens are so dangerous because they are constantly changing and becoming more and more aggressive. Around ten out of 100 germs are currently multi-resistant – in other words, even antibiotics can no longer help. The resistance is particularly attributed to the high use of antibiotics in factory farming and in human medicine.
World Health Organization Responds With Global Action Program
To counteract the growing risk of germs, the World Health Organization is participating in a global action program. In May 2015, the federal government enforced new reporting requirements, stricter monitoring and better hygiene in hospitals in order to reduce the number of infections. The Alliance90 / The Greens also call for a general ban on certain antibiotics in animal fattening.
Health Minister Gröhe calls for more intensive research in order to be able to develop new antibiotics and also a greater sense of responsibility among the patients themselves. The less you ask your doctor for an antibiotic for smaller infections, the more the growing resistance is prevented.