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International Infection Prevention Week: Antibiotic Resistance

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

International Infection Prevention Week: Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics are medicines used to treat severe bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria acquire extra genes that render antibiotic therapy ineffective. Keeping patients safe in hospital is dependent on effective antimicrobial therapy.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to global health, food security and economic development – with serious detrimental effects expected to be felt and worsen for many generations to come.

Patients with infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are less likely to respond to therapy, which increases their risk of poor clinical outcomes, increased suffering and death. Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures, such as delivery and C-sections, cancer chemotherapy and surgery, ranging from appendicectomy to hip replacements, become very high risk. Successful management of severely unwell patients in the intensive and neonatal care unit is highly dependent on effective antibiotic therapy. Unfortunately whilst resistance in bacteria is developing at an alarming rate, over the last 50 years only one new class of antibiotic has been developed. There are very few new antibiotics being developed and none of them are expected to be effective against the most dangerous forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world. A growing number of healthcare-associated infections in Australia are caused by bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. These include: MRSA vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, extended-spectrum cephalosporin-resistant E. coli and Klebsiella, carbapenem-resistant E.coli, Klebsiella and P. aeruginosa.

What can we do to prevent antibiotic resistance?

To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, we can:

  • Prevent infections by ensuring your hands and others are clean – practice good hand hygiene.
  • You should talk to your doctor  about how to take antibiotics correctly; antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse.
  • Ensure that you and your family and friends are aware of  how to prevent infections, including vaccination; hand washing; wound care and management of chronic medical illnesses. 

Mater Health is striving to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance and prevent healthcare associated infections through the implementation of a number of infection control and antimicrobial stewardship initiatives.

Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.

Whilst we might all be part of the problem of antibiotic resistance, we can also all be part of the solution too.

Dr Paul Griffin, Director of Infectious Diseases

International Infection Prevention Week (15 to 21 October) provides a focal point for healthcare professionals, consumers, organisations, and industry partners to shine a light on infection prevention and its power to save lives.

Posted: 17/10/2017 5:43:49 PM by News @ Mater | with 0 comments

Tags: antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial therapy, Dr Paul Griffin, hand washing, infection prevention, safety