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Denmark urges better EU action against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Staff writer |
Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen called for an increased EU action against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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"Antibiotic resistance does not respect borders, and therefore it is important that the EU stay united in the fight against resistance," Larsen said in a statement.

He also proposed to visiting EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis that detailed monitoring of antibiotic consumption for livestock be included in future initiatives from the European Commission when a possible new action plan is launched later this year.

For more than 20 years, Denmark has been monitoring development in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the consumption of antibiotics at farms and at hospitals.

According to the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food, Denmark has succeeded in reducing antibiotic consumption in livestock by about 20 percent since 2009.

Larsen and Andriukaitis on Thursday visited Denmark's National Serum Institute where the Danish model for combating antibiotic resistance was presented.

The Danish experience shows that systematic monitoring is an effective tool for keeping down consumption.

"Antibiotics should be used with care, so that we can continue to cure life-threatening diseases. What is needed is that all EU member states begin to monitor systematically their antibiotic consumption for animals," said Larsen.

Each year, more than 25,000 Europeans die from infection due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The European Commission's five-year action plan against resistance to antibiotics will end in autumn 2016, and is expected to be replaced with new initiatives.

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