Infectious diseases

Government to tackle antibiotic apocalypse

Wednesday, 3 Jun 2015

The Australian Government has launched a new national strategy aimed at reducing the threat of antibiotic resistance.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015-2019 comes on the back of the new statistics showing Australia’s consumption of antibiotics is among the highest in the developed world.

Announcing the initiative Health  Minister Sussan Ley said: “The new national approach focuses on measures that will prevent disease-causing bacteria from developing resistance to antibiotics as well as driving down the inappropriate use of antibiotics”.

The announcement has been received warmly by many experts, including infectious disease physician and microbiologist Professor Peter Collignon at the Australian National University Medical School who says the strategy will put in place much better ways to measure both the usage of antibiotics and the levels of resistant bacteria. 

“Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem not only in Australia but internationally.  It is a problem both in hospitals and in the community. It needs to be tackled on multiple fronts, including in foods we grow locally and import. In hospitals it means improved infection control and better limits on what antibiotics are currently used.”

Having good data on antibiotic usage and the resistance patterns of pathogens, for both people and food animals is an important step to be able to better manage this problem, he says.

“This strategy will help to implement better approaches that allow us to successfully restrict what and how antibiotics are used in these different environments.”

To read the full strategy click here.

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