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World Health Day 2011 – Antibiotic resistance: No action today, no cure tomorrow

Mittwoch, 13. April 2011

The health of people in Europe is threatened by a growing phenomenon: bacteria that cause common and life-threatening infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics – the medicines used to treat them. This is due to the widespread use and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals. This is an urgent problem, and is why antimicrobial resistance is the focus of World Health Day 2011.

In the European Region, antibiotic resistance is the special focus.

At present, every year 25 000 people in the European Union die because of a serious resistant bacterial infection mostly acquired in health care settings. Without new and effective antibiotics, but with increasing resistance, society could return to the conditions of a pre-antibiotic era, when a simple lung infection could kill a child, or when doctors could not fight meningitis. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is another example of this emerging health threat.

WHO calls on the public, prescribers, policy-makers, the pharmaceutical industry and the food animal production sector, to take action – prescribe and use antibiotics responsibly, monitor and track antibiotic usage and resistance, and promote the development of new antibiotic medicines.

One of the methods to reduce the misuse of antibiotics in humans is measuring the C-reactive (CRP) protein level (source: Eurolyser). CRP is a protein produced by liver cells. Its concentration in the blood increases fast in inflammations, infections and/or tissue damage. The CRP test, which measures the level of C-reactive protein in blood, is available on the Euroylser smart point of care center.

The CRP concentration increases within 6 to 12 hours of the onset of an inflammation and achieves its maximum level in 24 to 28 hours. In bacterial infections the CRP concentration often rises to 500 mg/ml. In virus infections however, the CRP concentration is usually normal or only slightly elevated. In adenovirus infections and influenza the CRP concentration may rise above 40 mg/l. Therefore CRP is helpful in differential diagnostics between bacterial and viral infections and can be particularly useful for monitoring the efficacy of antibiotic therapy. The CRP concentration falls rapidly when the antibiotic treatment is working. However, different studies showed that more than half of all antibiotics are taken without actual need for them.

Eurolyser Diagnostica has developed the most sensitive and most modern CRP rapid test to support clinical decision-making. The doctor can run a test, and the right treatment can be initiated without delay. Thus, the CRP test can help to avoid unnecessary treatment with antibiotics and maintain the efficacy of important antibiotics. The Eurolyser smart rapid CRP test requires just a 5 µl finger-prick blood sample and can be performed in the doctor’s office. The result is available immediately.

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