Antimicrobial resistance causing 700,000 deaths annually, health experts claim

Nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused.

"Reserve" group antibiotics are only to be used as last-resort antibiotics for treatment of specific infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.

She added that antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria (not humans or animals) become resistant to the active ingredients in these medicines. These antimicrobials are used to treat common infections.

The UN agencies, which include the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme called for the more responsible use of antibiotics in humans, animals and agriculture at the opening of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) in Asia and the Pacific on Monday, 12 November. The weeklong observance is meant to educate the public about proper antibiotic use and the prevention of antibiotic-resistant infections.

Antibiotic resistance threatens to reverse growth of longevity.

He said minor infections and injuries could become life threatening and serious infections such as pneumonia could become impossible to treat while many routine medical procedures could be too risky to perform because of the risk of becoming infected while in hospital by a multi-drug resistant pathogen.

Understand that it is possible to pass on antibiotic-resistant bacteria to others - friends, family and other people in the community. If we can prevent the spread of germs by following good hand hygiene this will go some way towards reducing the need for antibiotics. Many low- and middle-income countries have high mortality rates from infectious diseases and low rates of use of antibiotics. "Always insist on a licensed pharmacist to dispense the drug and give you the right prescriptions, where the professional is unavailable please walk away", Executive Secretary of the PSGH, Rev. Dennis Sena Awitty advised. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses, such as colds and flu, yet more than a third (37%) of those surveyed wrongly say antibiotics are effective for treating viral infections.

Some major contributing factors for antibiotic resistance in India are: High consumption of broad spectrum antibiotics, easy availability of antibiotics, including combinations, inappropriate use by people with inadequate knowledge of their use, rampant antibiotic use in animals raised for food, environmental contamination from discharge of effluents from antibiotic manufacturing units to rivers and lakes.

"Governments, funding agencies and the private sector need to invest and work together to secure safe, effective medicines for generations to come".

"Adequate support and investment are needed not only for the discovery of new vaccines and therapies for treatment of infections but also for the development and improvement of diagnostic tools", he observed.

'The timeframe for developing a new antibiotic is 10-15 years and it's not very profitable for companies as antibiotics tend to only be used for short courses.

"We know that nearly one in every two Australians (45%) takes an antibiotic each year, and our nation's consumption levels are higher than those of comparable countries such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands", said Mr Morris.

  • Santos West