NZ joining battle to raise awareness around use of antibiotics

Henrietta Brewer
November 14, 2017

Researchers from one of the College's Health Protection Research Units (HPRU) will be running drop off sessions at South Kensington and Hammersmith campuses as part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Since they were first marketed in the 1940s, antibiotics have helped to revolutionize modern healthcare, offering cures to previously untreatable infections.

A systematic review published last week in The Lancet Planetary Health found that interventions that restrict antibiotic use in food-producing animals reduced antibiotic-resistant bacteria in these animals by up to 39 per cent.

November 13th kicks off World Antibiotics Awareness Week, and Allen County Public Health wants to remind people to "Be Antibiotics Aware" when using them. It also shows the number of people experiencing drug-resistant infections decreases further when infection control measures, such as good hand hygiene, are followed.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem around the world, threatening global health and food security.

"We need to raise awareness, particularly in younger people, that antibiotics are a precious resource which are ineffective for the treatment of viruses and should be reserved for the treatment of bacterial infections".

New Zealanders are being urged to seek advice from a qualified health professional before taking antibiotics.

The collaborative effort between doctors, pharmacists, microbiologists, infection prevention specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals plays a critical role in driving and influencing the implementation of the hospital antimicrobial resistance strategy. "We have to be able to use the right antibiotics, right time, right dose, for those patients". Being more careful not to use antibiotics unless completely necessary.

World Health Organization has announced new recommendations tailored to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans by reducing their unnecessary use in animals.

They included situations where antibiotics should not routinely be used - such as for upper respiratory tract infections, as topical treatment for surgical wounds and for fever in children without a bacterial infection.

Among the WHO's the highest priority antibiotics are quinolones, 3rd and higher generation cephalosporins, macrolides and ketolides, glycopeptides and polymyxins (also known as colistin).

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