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Combating antimicrobial resistance is a matter of life or death

14-03-2012 07:45:00

On 14 -15 March the Danish EU Presidency hosts an international conference in Copenhagen on joint combat against antimicrobial resistance. The Danish Presidency is aiming for the Council to conclude on common EU measures for combating antimicrobial resistance.

Overuse of antimicrobials causes development of resistance among pathogenic bacteria. The result is a series of diseases which previously could be treated with antimicrobials but are now remarkably difficult to cure. The consequences can, at worst, be fatal, and each year more than 25,000 European citizens die due to antimicrobial resistance. New figures show that the problem is not decreasing. On the contrary; still more bacteria develop resistance and still more antimicrobials lose their potential.

“We have experienced a huge overuse of primarily broad-spectrum antimicrobials. This is a serious threat to health services and there is an urgent need both for limitations on usage as well as better targeted use of antimicrobials. The response needs to be worldwide as resistant bacteria do not respect borders. I wish the EU to lead the fight against overuse of antimicrobials and the subsequent development of resistant bacteria,” says Danish Minister for Health, Pia Olsen Dyhr, who hosts the conference in partnership with the Danish Minister of Food, Mette Gjerskov.

“Combating antimicrobial resistance is a joint challenge, not only across borders; but also with regards to both human and veterinarian use. Overuse of antimicrobials in livestock leads to bacterial resistance that also affects humans. So the overuse must be terminated. There is a need for of better guidelines and restrictive use of antimicrobials for animals, not least with regard to the critically important antibiotics. Denmark was a pioneer on a ban on antimicrobial growth promoters in the 1990s and I will strive for the EU to lead the way in combating overuse of antimicrobials in live-stock farming. It is really a matter of life or death”, says Danish Food Minister Mette Gjerskov.

The conference Combating Antimicrobial Resistance – Time for Joint Action takes place in Bella Center, Copenhagen, where Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary will welcome the participants on Wednesday 14 March at 10.45 a.m.

The conference gathers 300 European scientists and officials who will present the most recent developments in the field of antimicrobial resistance and discuss solutions to this most pressing situation.

The press is invited to the opening and the presentations Wednesday morning.

The conference will be held in English and is supported by the EU Commission.


The Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries:
Communications Advisor Karin Møller-Olsen
Tel: +45 25 38 95 93

The Danish Ministry of Health
Press officer Bo Elkjær
tel: +45 22 77 70 88



Bella Center
Center Boulevard 5
2300 Copenhagen, Denmark