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1 In 10 Patients Will Get
Diseases IN EU Hospitals

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -- One in 10 patients entering a European hospital can expect to catch an infection there and drug-resistant microbes caught through healthcare are a rapidly growing threat, EU health officials said on Thursday.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a report that every year some 3 million people in European Union countries catch a disease associated with healthcare and that around 50,000 die as a result.
"This report shows that healthcare associated infections have become a major issue of concern in the EU, with many of these caused by new or emerging drug resistant microbes," commented Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health.
"It is unacceptable to me that one in every ten patients entering hospital in the EU will catch an infection there."
The Stockholm-based ECDC said a key reason for the rising number of drug-resistant bacteria was the large amount of antibiotics being used, which encourages resistant strains to emerge.
"If the current rise in drug resistance among microbes is not halted, mankind will lose one of its most important weapons against infectious diseases," it said in the report based on European data gathered in 2005.
It was the first ever European epidemiologic report on communicable diseases in the European Union.
The ECDC said that while EU states had generally been successful in preventing infectious diseases -- with most diseases stable or in decline over the past decade and with for example polio eliminated -- there was no room for complacency.
"The majority of deaths in the EU countries are caused by non-infectious diseases such as cancer and heart disease. That said, the threat posed by infections cannot be underestimated," it said.
The ECDC said key areas of concern in addition to the healthcare-related diseases were rising rates of HIV along with a continued threat from tuberculosis, influenza and pneumococcal infections. It said drug resistance had become a major problem in diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis.
ECDC director Zsuzsanna Jakob told a news conference that EU members need to work together more closely.
"We need better and more comparable data at the EU level which means that we need to further strengthen the European surveillance systems and also the preparedness," she said.
"We need to further develop our knowledge where gaps exist. We need to identify and share good practices in prevention and control programs."
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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