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Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem worldwide. As a result of incorrect and excessive use of antibiotics, many types of bacteria are becoming resistant. The key factors in preventing resistance are prudent use of antibiotics and prevention of the spread of resistant bacteria.

RIVM monitors the prevalence of resistant bacteria, follows all relevant developments in the Netherlands, and advises the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and health care professionals. Consultation is essential between the various parties concerned with antibiotic resistance. To structure these consultations, RIVM together with other partners organised a symposium for professionals in 2014. For the wider public, RIVM developed in 2014 an animation on the presence and prevention of resistant bacteria.


A symposium held on European Antibiotics Day on 18 November was attended by professionals in human and veterinary health care, scientists and policy makers. The objective was to consider antibiotic resistance from different perspectives and to exchange knowledge. One of the outcomes was that the prevention and control of antibiotic resistance in the Netherlands requires multidisciplinary cooperation, which is complex and needs to be guided and directed. The Ministry has set up a management process in which various parties including RIVM are in discussion about prevention and control of antibiotic resistance.

Animation on spread of resistant bacteria

A key aspect in the prevention of antibiotic resistance is to stop the spread of resistant bacteria. To demonstrate this to the wider public, RIVM developed an animation. It shows how the spread of resistant bacteria can lead to major problems particularly in care homes and hospitals because patients are particularly vulnerable. Resistant bacteria can be contained with careful hygiene and more insight into carriers of resistant bacteria. This animation is a sequel to an earlier animation entitled “How antibiotic resistance occurs”.