Drug resistance is usually down to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics
Around 25,000 people die from superbugs in the EU every year, according to research carried out by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Drug resistance is usually driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics – allowing bacteria to evolve and develop new ways to beat medicines.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU's health and food safety commissioner, said: "Antimicrobial resistance is an alarming threat putting human and animal health in danger.
Antimicrobial resistance is an alarming threat putting human and animal health in danger.
Vytenis Andriukaitis – EU health and food safety commissioner
"We have put substantial efforts to stop its rise, but this is not enough. We must be quicker, stronger and act on several fronts."
Resistance to ‘carbapenem’ antibiotics was also detected for the first time in animals and food – albeit at low levels.
These medicines are usually used as a last resort treatment option for patients who have been infected with multi-drug resistant superbugs.
Multi-drug resistance is high across the EU in Salmonella bacteria
The EFSA and ECDC report found very low levels of resistance to E. coli bacteria in pigs and in meat from pigs.
Resistance to colistin, another last-resort human antibiotic – was also found at very low levels in Salmonella and E. coli in pigs and cattle, the report said.
The report also found that multi-drug resistance is high across the EU in Salmonella bacteria, which can cause the common food-borne infection Salmonellosis.
Dangerous bacterial infections Tue, January 24, 2017
Dangerous bacterial infections from food poisoning to meningitis.
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Sepsis is also referred to as blood poisoning or septicaemia, it is a potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection or injury
The ECDC's chief scientist, Mike Catchpole, said he was particularly concerned that some common types of Salmonella in humans are showing extremely high multi-drug resistances.
He said: ”Prudent use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine is extremely important.
"We all have a responsibility to ensure that antibiotics keep working."
Around 25,000 people die from superbugs in the EU annually
Researchers also noticed a geographical variation in the levels of multi-drug resistant bacteria across the EU.
Countries in northern and western Europe were found to have lower resistance levels than countries in the south and the east.
Experts said this was likely due to differences in the level of use and overuse of antibiotics in different countries.
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