Antimicrobials comprise antibiotics, which are essential medicines for humans and animals, and can also be used as disinfectants, antiseptics and other hygiene products. They have substantially decreased the threat of infectious diseases. Antibiotics are an indispensible tool in medicine and are used in common procedures such as transplantation and chemotherapy.
However, over the years bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. This resistance has manifested itself in hospital-acquired infections, respiratory tract infections, meningitis, diarrhoeal diseases and sexually transmitted infections. Resistant bacteria can be transferred from animals to humans via the food chain or through direct contact.
Since the 1990s, when AMR was recognised as a serious threat to public health, the Commission has launched various initiatives and actions across sectors, i.e. human and veterinary medicine, food and feed and scientific research. The Action Plan announced today is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Commission to tackle AMR.