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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for simple ailments like cough and cold is mainly responsible for superbugs: Australian Report

Contributed by: Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQH) published a crucial report on antibiotic use in the country last week that showed that it was inappropriate use in the primary level care that is responsible for antibiotic resistance and multi-drug resistant superbugs. The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) 2016 analysed data for the last 18-months in Australia.

The report showed that in most health facilities more than one in 10 patients were on some sort of antibiotic, but less than five percent had a suspected or confirmed infection. It also said that one in five prescriptions were written for people with no signs or symptoms of infection. Moreover, more  than half of people with colds or other upper respiratory infections were prescribed antibiotics, despite the drugs being powerless against viruses. All of this contributed to making, according to the report this contributed to roughly 500 superbug cases are detected in Australia every year.
It recommended boosting community education, potentially in schools, and awareness campaigns to wean the public off its perceived need for antibiotics.

The report is another crucial piece of evidence to push for stricter norms in countries across the world along with public awareness on the harmfulness of popping antibiotics for simple infections. Such norms and awareness can alone help battle the critical issue to antibiotic resistance.