Superbug awareness is a community responsibility.
The fight against superbugs is in our hands.
WHO has brought attention of the ‘superbug Crisis’ to government bodies and provided recommendations to fight the spread of antimicrobial resistance, yet it will take a community effort to combat these resilient bugs. Much of the global community underestimates the intelligence of bacterial pathogens and acts unknowingly in their effort to treat their own infections.
Everyone should take responsibility about the antibiotics they take – using antibiotics to treat viral infections like a cold or flu, over use, and not using as prescribed or prescribing antibiotics inappropriately all contribute to antibiotic resistance > read more.
Send us your synthetic compounds or pure natural products for antimicrobial screening. This is a free service and we make no claims on results or IP. The data will then be made available in an open access database for use by the community following a confidentiality period allowing you to publish or patent your positive hits.
For the public
- Wash your hands frequently. Did you know that bacteria that cause infection can live on inert surfaces anywhere from a few minutes to several months? Sanitiser is great but nothing beats a thorough scrub with good old soap and water. How to handwash?
- Don't share personal items. Toothbrushes, towels and handkerchiefs can all be sources of infectious agents.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. For most infections, the disease-causing microbe has already started growing and dividing long before any symptoms begin to show so make it a habit to always cover your coughing or sneeze.
- Don’t misuse antibiotics! When administered with antibiotics for an infection, take the entire course. If you have not taken enough medication to kill the entire infection it is likely to come back or show up somewhere else. You may also assist the bacteria in becoming resistant, they multiply very rapidly and as this happens mistakes occur in their DNA that makes them resistant to antibiotics. E-learning: Appropriate use of antibiotics
- Do not demand antibiotics from your medical practitioner every time you are sick. The flu (influenza) and colds are caused by viruses, which are not treatable with antibiotics. Taking an antibiotic when you have a viral infection won't make you feel better — and can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
- Use safe cooking practices. Food-borne illnesses frequently arise from poor food preparation and dining habits.
- Research before you travel. Infectious diseases can easily be picked up while traveling. Check that the water is safe or purchase bottled water and avoid raw foods. Information can be found on the SmartTraveller website.
- Keep up to date on current news events. An understanding of current events can help you to make wise decisions about traveling or other recreational activities. You could start with the CO-ADD twitter feed.
- Donate to medical research in the fight against bacterial resistance.
Gifts to CO-ADD are managed by the University of Queensland - UQ Giving.
“It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them, and the same thing has occasionally happened in the body. The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily under-dose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant. Here is a hypothetical illustration. Mr. X. has a sore throat. He buys some penicillin and gives himself, not enough to kill the streptococci but enough to educate them to resist penicillin. He then infects his wife. Mrs. X gets pneumonia and is treated with penicillin. As the streptococci are now resistant to penicillin the treatment fails. Mrs. X dies. Who is primarily responsible for Mrs. X’s death? Why Mr. X, whose negligent use of penicillin changed the nature of the microbe. Moral: If you use penicillin, use enough."
The “rise of superbugs” is a global problem that requires a global solution. The way forward requires a strong team effort of research, discovery, the implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals and the wider community, as well as community awareness and responsibly of action in self-treatment.
Links to antibiotic resources:
- World Health Organisation, Antimicrobial Resistance
- Australia’s First National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015–2019
- Australian Society for Infectious Disease
- Australian Society for Antimicrobials
- Infectious Disease Society of America
- Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance
- The Medical Journal of Australia
- US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
- Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2011: Volume Two
- Antibiotic research UK
- Antibiotic Action
- International Symposium on Antimicrobial Agents and Resistance
- Asia Pacific Foundation For Infectious Diseases
- NPS MedicineWise - practical tools
The antibiotics dilemma: Why we're running out of drugs to treat the superbugs. ABC Rear Vision 30 March 2016
We need new antibiotics to beat superbugs, but why are they so hard to find? The Conversation, 14 Jan 2015
Unblocking the antibiotics pipeline - ABC Science 02 May 2014
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