The need to use antibiotics only when necessary is the message that comes out of the World Antibiotic Awareness Week.
Medical practitioners and patients are urged to think more closely about the use of antibiotics with new drugs that do not respond to the growing superbug sites.
Speaking at the recent New Zealand Annual Anesthesia Science Meeting in Auckland, Dr. Stephen McBride, infectious disease specialist, described the current global situation as well as the complexity of stopping the spread of superbugs in New Zealand hospitals.
McBride, the clinical director of infectious diseases at Middlemore Hospital, said that even the top shelf, the upgraded penicillin was now ineffective against the latest threat to CRAs.
"With the passage of time we are taking new waves of drug-resistant organisms." It started in the 50s and 60s with the H-bug, which we are still fighting and now we have the last threat, CROs living in the intestine. "
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The geographic isolation of New Zealand, however, has worked in favor with the country for about ten years behind the resistance curve.
"This began to expose exponentially and now at Middlemore Hospital, about 8% of our patients are known to have these ESBL [extended-spectrum beta-lactamases] the microbes in their gut, "said McBride.
While a significant number of antibiotics against skin contamination had been in the last 30 years, McBride said there were virtually no new antibiotics against the intestine.
"If our top shelf is upgraded to penicillin is ineffective against CRO, we run out of choices, we modify old drugs but we have not found anything entirely new that bugs did not have time to figure out how to deal with them."
While painting a grim picture of the current world situation, McBride said there were easy things people could do, like washing their hands, to prevent the spread of superbugs.
Busy healthcare workers also needed to ensure that infection control was considered vital and at the top of competitive requirements for the time, he said.
He also supported the rational prescription of antibiotics by doctors and rational demand from patients.
McBride's message comes as World Health Organization (WHO) launches annual Antibiotic Awareness Week, a campaign to highlight concerns about the appearance of bacterial strains that are resistant to all classes of antibiotics.
The week, which runs until 18 November, encourages best practices among the general public, healthcare workers and policy makers to prevent the spread and spread of antibiotic resistance.