Antimicrobial resistance

Antibiotics, also known as antimicrobial drugs, are medicines that can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria to cure infections in people, animals and sometimes plants. Bacteria have antibiotic resistance when specific antibiotics have lost their ability to kill or stop the growth of the bacteria. Some bacteria are naturally resistant to certain antibiotics (intrinsic or inherent resistance). A more worrying problem is when some bacteria, that are normally susceptible to antibiotics, become resistant as a result of genetic changes (acquired resistance). Resistant bacteria survive in the presence of the antibiotic and continue to multiply causing longer illness or even death. Infections caused by resistant bacteria may require more care as well as alternative and more expensive antibiotics, which may have more severe side effects. Read more in the factsheets about antimicrobial resistance

Latest outputs


New study by WHO Europe and ECDC examines variations in antibiotic consumption in European countries between 2014 and 2018

News story -


Use of antibiotics in animals is decreasing

Press release -


Infographic: Healthcare-associated infections – a threat to patient safety in Europe

Infographic -


Infographic: Antibiotic resistance – an increasing threat to human health

Infographic -

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Automated digital reporting of clinical laboratory information to national public health surveillance systems, results of a EU/EEA survey, 2018

Oct 2020

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Genomic epidemiology of emerging ESBL-producing Salmonella Kentucky blaCTX-M-14b in Europe

Sep 2020

Antimicrobial resistance in specific diseases

Antimicrobial resistance - Escherichia coli

Escherichia coli resistance to major antibiotics is increasing in almost all countries in Europe. E. coli causes urinary tract and more serious infections and is one of the most common bacteria causing infections.

Antimicrobial resistance - Campylobacteriosis

The annual ECDC-EFSA report looks at antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food

Antimicrobial resistance - Salmonellosis

Multi-drug resistant Salmonella bacteria continue to spread across Europe, show the latest data on resistance in bacteria in humans, food and animals issued by ECDC and EFSA. There’s evidence of resistance to the antimicrobial colistin in Salmonella among poultry in the EU - this last-resort drug may soon no longer be effective for treating severe human infections with Salmonella.

Antimicrobial resistance/ microbiology - Gonorrhoea

The surveillance of gonococcal antimicrobial susceptibility surveillance in Europe is essential for detecting emerging and increasing antimicrobial resistance and making quality-assured data available to inform revisions of treatment guidelines. ECDC coordinates the Euro-GASP network.

Related diseases/public health areas

Disease / public health area

Antimicrobial consumption

Disease / public health area

Healthcare-associated infections

Disease networks

European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net)

European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network (ESAC-Net)

Healthcare-associated Infections Surveillance Network (HAI-Net)

European Antimicrobial Resistance Genes Surveillance Network (EURGen-Net)