Press Release: NPS
Antibiotic Awareness Week 2014: Imagine a World without
As Antibiotic Awareness Week 2014 is held across Australia from
17-23 November, NPS MedicineWise is asking all Australians to
imagine a world without antibiotics and join the fight against
NPS MedicineWise CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, says that Antibiotic
Awareness Week is a timely reminder that we all urgently need to
take action to change the course of antibiotic resistance. The
threat of antibiotics losing their power is a real prospect in the
Australian community: without individual action, Australians face a
dire future where simple infections could be life-threatening and
surgery is deemed too high risk.
"Australians need to understand that antibiotic resistance is a
significant and very real threat to personal health. As more
antibiotics become ineffective against bacterial infections, we
face the prospect of returning to a pre-antibiotics era where
conditions we've been able to historically treat with antibiotics
"This is a serious public health issue and it requires everyone
to take action. The inappropriate use of antibiotics on an
individual level contributes to bacteria becoming resistant to
antibiotics. Using antibiotics when you don't need them may mean
that they won't work for you when you do need them in the
Examples of bacteria in the community that have already
developed resistance to a number of antibiotics include strains of
Escherichia coli (E. coli) that cause many urinary tract infections
and 'Golden Staph', a common cause of skin infections. Failure of
the last-resort antibiotic treatment for the sexually transmitted
infection gonorrhoea has been reported, and Australia has already
experienced cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the
Dr Weekes said that a world without antibiotics is very real
prospect unless we all join the fight to prevent antibiotic
"This is not just an issue our children or grandchildren will
face. Antibiotic resistance is occurring in the community now and
could easily affect any one of us," says Dr Weekes.
"The more antibiotics are used, the more chance bacteria have to
become resistant to them. If people take them inappropriately, when
they are not needed or carelessly, it could have direct
implications for them, their family and their community. The good
news though is action now from individuals and health professionals
can help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance."
The key messages for Australians to remember this Antibiotic
Awareness Week are:
- Antibiotic resistance is a personal threat that requires
personal action. It is not just someone else's problem.
- Antibiotic resistance is not only a major issue for hospitals,
veterinarians, or countries overseas. It is happening right now in
the Australian community.
- Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is increasing the problem of
antibiotic resistance. We are all part of the problem and the
- Don't always expect an antibiotic. Antibiotics do not work for
- If you are prescribed an antibiotic, ask why it is necessary
for your illness.
- When you need antibiotics take them exactly as prescribed.
Never save leftovers for another time or another person.
- Always practise good hygiene to avoid infections and prevent
them spreading to others.
This Antibiotic Awareness Week, NPS MedicineWise is calling on
all health professionals and the Australian community to commit to
change by pledging to fight antibiotic resistance atwww.nps.org.au/join-the-fight or