FDP Criticizes Government Inactivity: Concern for Resistant Microbes 2

FDP Criticizes Government Inactivity: Concern for Resistant Microbes

Danger in the hospital. For debilitated patients, multi-drug resistant germs can be deadly. Photo by Oliver Berg / dpa
© Oliver Berg / dpa

Rainer Woratchka

The dangerous MRSA hospital germ is declining. As a result, other resistances increase. The FDP has reason to criticize the government.

When broiler chickens are bred in Germany, more and more so-called anti-tank antibiotics are used. Consumption of these funds, which are reserved only for serious infections due to severe side effects, continued to increase the fattening of chickens, the federal government confirmed. At the same time, there is an increase in bacteria resistant to more types of drugs in the turkey food chain, according to the FDP parliamentary group's response to Tagesspiegel.

FDP expert appalled by "ignorance and sometimes inaction"

FDP member Andrew Ullmann, who worked until joining the Bundestag two years ago as a professor of infectious disease at the University of Würzburg, called the findings alarming. Although enjoyable, "figures in antibiotic consumption are generally falling." At the same time, he was shocked by the "ignorance and occasional inactivity" of the German government in this serious problem, Ullmann told Tagesspiegel. Due to the increase in antibiotic resistance, there is a risk that global health care will once again switch to "pre-antibiotic". The effects would be "catastrophic".

The World Health Organization also warns of an increase in multidrug-resistant pathogens against which even spare antibiotics are no longer effective. A study by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that the number of resistant bacteria in the EU almost doubled between 2007 and 2015. More than 33,000 deaths are due to such pathogens. In this country alone in 2015, nearly 55,000 people were infected with antibiotic-resistant microbes, and nearly 2,400 died of them. And the OECD predicts that in Europe, North America and Australia by 2050, about 2.4 million people could die from such microbes without targeted measures.

Significant increase in resistant gut microbes

According to the government, the development of resistant gut bacteria – vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) – in this country has "increased significantly in the last four years." In turn, hospital-acquired MRSA infections continued to decline.

Another positive finding is that the total amount of antibiotics in animals has dropped significantly. Between 2014 and 2018, it dropped just under 42 percent – from 1238 to 722 tons. There is a similar development in fattening: here the Abscheissange decreased by 31.6 percent – from 298 to almost 204 tonnes. However, in the case of chickens for fattening and fattening turkeys, according to the government, consumption has remained "almost unchanged" – and in the case of antibiotic spare fattening chickens for chickens, the proportion of consumption has actually increased.

Therefore, it is "binding" that the poultry industry will have to submit a strategy to the Ministry of Agriculture in the next two months in order to significantly reduce the use of antibiotics, and in particular reserve antibiotics, the government's response said. Antibiotic administration in the poultry mast must be "optimized".

Clinics are free to decide on an examination

The Ministry of Health does not know the cost of treating multi-drug resistant bacteria. And even when asked about the frequency of screening for multi-drug resistant bacteria in hospitals, the home of Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) had to fit. Clinicians could "freely decide the nature and frequency of antibiotic susceptibility testing," Secretary of State Thomas Gebhart said in a written response. The extent of such tests was not available.

"For me, the question is why decisions are taken in such a serious problem and whether the Federal Ministry of Health is not interested in the effort and cost involved," Ullmann said. The FDP politician called for a much stronger focus on the "health approach." These include general strategies against antibiotic resistance for humans, animals and the environment.

Look for more hygienists

At the same time, Ullmann is committed to providing as many professionals as possible in the clinics. "He needs constant hygienists and everywhere," he said. With that said, he should finally give infectology experts across the country. Here, however, is "not only the federal government, but above all the German Medical Association."

According to the government, the number of hygienists in acute care hospitals almost doubled between 2005 and 2017. Recently, 2118 such clinicians were reported. However, about 35 percent of them worked part-time only. About half of the nearly 2,000 clinics have at least one hygiene specialist. Only the Department of Infectology has been in Berlin's Charite since 1999.