Highlights from

UEGW 2019

United European Gastroenterology Week 2019

Barcelona, Spain 19 - 23 October 2019

Antibiotic resistance in H. pylori has doubled over last 20 years

New research presented by Prof. Francis Megraud (University of Bordeaux, France) focused on antibiotic resistance in H. pylori and found that the rate of primary clarithromycin resistance has doubled in the last 20 years [1].

A total of 18 countries participated in the study. Resistance was highest in Southern Italy (approximately 40%), Croatia, and Greece (35% and 30% respectively). This was presumably attributable to the overuse of antibiotics for common viral infections. This was aggravated by the lack of cooperation by medical institutions when it comes to limiting the use of antibiotics. These findings support data that both Italy and Greece have the highest mortality rates for antibiotic resistance among EU member countries.

Comparable rates of antibiotic resistance were found in Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland, Austria, France, and Germany. Nations with the lowest rates of resistance include Denmark, at just 5%, Latvia, with about 7%, and Norway and the Netherlands, at about 9% each.

If H. pylori infection is not controlled due to rising antibiotic resistance rates, gastric cancer rates are likely to increase in conjunction with increasing rates of gastric ulcer. Explaining the situation, Prof. Megraud said, “With resistance rates to commonly used antibiotics such as clarithromycin increasing at an alarming rate of nearly 1% per year, treatment options for H. pylori will become progressively limited and ineffective if novel treatment strategies remain undeveloped.”

  1. Megraud, F et al. European survey of Helicobacter pylori primary resistance to antibiotics - Evolution over the last 20 years. UEG Week Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, October 19-23, 2019, Abstract OP035.

The content and interpretation of these conference highlights are the views and comments of the speakers/authors.