New Zealanders face a looming health crisis, because some
relatively common infections are developing resistance to the
medicines that are usually used to treat them.
The NZ College of Public Health Medicine (NZCPHM) is raising its
concerns about the responsible use of antibiotics to mark World
Antibiotic Awareness Week, an annual World Health Organization
event (November 13-19).
College spokesperson Professor Michael Baker says resistance to
antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines is a major public
health issue that could cause 10 million deaths globally each year
by 2050 if allowed to continue unchecked.
It is known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a state in which
micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites no
longer respond to treatment by antimicrobial medicines, such as
antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antimalarials.
"This means standard treatments for a variety of relatively
common infections are becoming ineffective. The medicines no longer
work, infections persist and people remain sick, increasing the
risk of dying and spread to others.
"AMR has been described as a leading global health issue that
"threatens the very core of modern medicine". It's very important
that events like World Antibiotic Awareness Week draw attention to
Professor Baker says it is essential that New Zealand implements
the New Zealand Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan that was
published earlier this year.
"This is a global issue in which New Zealand absolutely has to
play its part. We need widespread commitment and leadership from
medical, veterinary and agricultural sectors in New Zealand,