According to an EU opinion poll, only 40 of those interviewed knew that antibiotics don’t kill viruses.
The same survey publicsed on Friday said that only 18 percent know they are not required when suffering from the flu.
It means that Europe will face a growing threat from superbugs that are resistant to the most powerful antibiotics, according to the European Centres for Diseases and Control Prevention.
Experts are worried about overuse and misuse has fuelled a rise in drug-resistant infections.
Surbhi Malhotra-Kumar a microbiologist at V the Vaccine & Infectious Diseases Institute, University of Antwerp, said: “I think we are still consuming too much antibiotics, If we have point of care test, rapid diagnostistic test that can be placed in the general practioner’s office, He takes a simple, immediately can see if is a virus or a bacterial infection within half an hour. An he is able to explain to the patient that this particular infections does or don’t not need a antibiotics. This will make a big difference.”
The European Commission is working on new legislation to tackle this problem.
As part of this strategy, EU officials are looking at new measures to improve the use of antibiotics in the veterinary sector.
“Some member states are also taken even more drastic initiatives, they prohibited certain important antibiotics, for human health to be applied in animal health,” said Tonio Borg, EU Health Commissioner.
The cpmmission has earmarked 91 million euros to be spent on developing new types of antibiotics or alternatives, such as vaccines.