Source: University of Auckland, 11 November 2016
New Zealanders are in the dark about the threat of infectious
diseases, according to University of Auckland microbiologist, Dr
"An island mentality means New Zealanders often dismiss the
threat of infectious diseases as a third world problem, or assume
that modern medicine will easily solve an infection," says Dr Wiles
who is involved in a new campaign to raise awareness about
"Infectious diseases are increasing in New Zealand and we are
rapidly running out of ways to treat common conditions such as skin
and soft tissue infections and pneumonia."
She says the recent outbreak of Campylobacter in Havelock North
"reminds us that people of all backgrounds are at risk, and that
infectious diseases have a broad impact across our society".
The new online campaign InfectedNZ runs next week and
aims to start a national conversation about the health, social and
economic impacts of infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
across Aotearoa New Zealand.
The campaign coincides with World Antibiotic Awareness Week run
by the World Health Organisation.
Dr Wiles says the growing rate of antibiotic resistance means
today's easily treatable diseases could have devastating impacts in
Already an estimated 700,000 plus people worldwide die each year
due to drug-resistant infections. The World Health Organisation
characterises the problem as one of the biggest threats to global
"Bacteria and other pathogens are evolving to resist existing
drugs and their evolution is outpacing the development of new
medicines," says Dr Wiles. "We need to get real about our
vulnerability and have a national conversation about how the
public, health workers, policymakers and the agriculture sector can
make a difference."
InfectedNZ runs from 14-18 November with a series of
research-driven blog posts and social media conversations.
Visit tepunahamatatini.ac.nz or follow
InfectedNZ is an online curated conversation by Te Pūnaha
Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence in complex systems and
networks hosted by the University of Auckland.
Data used in the discussions is collated and provided by
Figure.NZ, a charity devoted to getting people to use data about