Antibiotic consumption and resistance: data from Europe and Germany

Int J Med Microbiol. 2013 Aug;303(6-7):388-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


The use of antibiotics - including the over- and misuse - in human and veterinary practices selected for resistant pathogens and led to their emergence and dissemination along with the transmission of resistant bacteria. The aim of this article is to prescribe the prerequisites for the surveillance of antibiotic use and bacterial resistance, to explain advantage and disadvantage of surveillance parameters used, to present new data from a surveillance network of intensive care units focusing on antibiotic use and resistance and to discuss the impact of antibiotic use on resistance. The Surveillance System of Antibiotic Use and Bacterial Resistance in Intensive Care Units (SARI) is an on-going project that collects data from its network of intensive care units (ICU) in Germany. Antimicrobial use was expressed as daily defined doses (DDD) and normalized per 1000 patient-days (pd). ICU decided either to provide monthly data on antibiotic and resistant pathogens or they decided to provide only yearly data on antibiotic use without resistance data. 85% of all antibiotics used in Germany are administered in animals; 85% of the antibiotics used in humans are prescribed in the outpatient setting and 85% of the antibiotics used in hospitals are prescribed on non-ICUs wards. The mostly widely used parameter for the surveillance of resistance is the percentage of resistant pathogens which is important to guide empirical therapy but does not measure the burden of resistance which is of interest to the public health perspective. The burden of MRSA did not increase over the last 11 years in ICUs and was 4.2MRSA/1000pd in 2011. The burden of 3rd generation resistant E. coli and K. pneumoniae more than quintupled (up to 2.6 and 1.2 respectively) and was followed by a three times increased use of carbapenems and correlated with quinolone and 3rd generation cephalosporin use. The burden VRE faecium also increased dramatically from 0.1 to 0.8 within 11 years; VRE faecium showed no significant correlation to vancomycin use (p=0.190) although glycopeptide use increased lately. Antibiotic use in animals and humans correlates with the risk of resistant microorganisms in a multifactor and complex way; it is of upmost importance that surveillance and interventions focus on all sectors: animal use and in- and outpatient setting in humans.

Keywords: Antibiotic consumption; Resistance development; Surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Prevalence


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents