Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Experts warn against overuse of antibiotics

Experts warn against overuse of antibiotics

"Many of the common infections like a sore throat, cold, or ear infection that, in the past, we might give an antibiotic for, we maybe should give a little time - because it's a virus", Dr. Johns said.

Bacteria can become resistant when patients use antibiotics they do not need, or do not finish a course of treatment, giving the half-defeated bug a chance to recover and build immunity.

Overall, the research team estimated that 33,000 people die each year as a direct outcome of antibiotic-resistant infections. To help stop the misuse of antibiotics, IDPH is leading the statewide Precious Drugs & Scary Bugs Campaign to promote appropriate antibiotic use in doctors' offices.

He expressed these views while addressing a policy and advocacy seminar on antibiotic awareness organised by Hepatitis and Infection Control Programme, Punjab, in collaboration with World Health Organisation at a local hotel. Improving the way health care providers prescribe antibiotics, and how people take them, will help fight antibiotic resistance.

"When we overuse (antibiotics), bacteria can adapt, and then we develop resistant bacteria", she said. Approximately 70 percent of all medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are intended for use in agriculture.(4) Since farmers are dealing with flocks or herds of animals, the administration of these antibiotics tends to be through water or feed, affecting many or all of the animals at once.

'Essentially, we are using more when we should use less and we are running out of our best options in case of emergency'.

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But underlying all that is the fact that antimicrobial resistance is a natural phenomenon, a process of bacterial evolution that has been occurring for millennia, said Gerry Wright, director of the Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University.

Pfizer, for example, created AMR surveillance tools that provide physicians and health communities in over 70 countries free access to critical data on the efficacy of various antibiotic treatments and emerging resistance patterns. However, many of these antibiotics were taken unnecessarily: 20% of antibiotics were taken for flu or a cold and 7% took them without a medical prescription. Italy and Greece had the highest DALYs for antibiotic-resistant infections.

"But we have people in our hospitals that we haven't been able to treat".

According to the research, about 700,000 people die worldwide due to these so-called superbugs.

Both Wright and Morris stress that concerted action needs to be taken now to stem the tide of resistance, and that means the federal and provincial governments taking a leadership role to co-ordinate innovative programs to encourage antibiotic development, to find alternative treatments, and to curb misuse and overuse. How did we go from revolutionizing medicine with the introduction of antibiotics to a future where common infections once again kill, in about the average American lifespan?

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