The European Union warned Thursday of a sharp rise in deaths across the 27-nation bloc due to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.
With some 25,000 Europeans dying each year from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, European health commissioner John Dalli said "we need to take swift and determined action if we do not want to lose antimicrobial medicines" for humans and animals.
Antimicrobials include antibiotics and can also be used as disinfectants and antiseptics.
Data issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show resistance to pathogens which often cause pneumonia and urinary tract infections in hospitals on the rise, at a cost of over 1.5 billion euros ($2.0 billion) in care and productivity losses.
A five-year EU plan to contain the risk of antimicrobial resistance, also known as AMR, calls for research in areas affecting both humans and animals, as resistant bacteria can be transferred from animals to humans in the food chain.
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