What if your antibiotics didn't work?

09 October, 2012

Experts call for simple measures to stem the tide of antimicrobial resistance.

Regional experts are today calling for the implementation of simple measures to tackle growing resistance to antibiotics.

Greater awareness of basic hand hygiene amongst healthcare workers and the public could have a dramatic impact on preventable infections and reduce overuse of current antibiotics, they say.

They are gathered in Sydney’s Darling Harbour for ACIPC 2012, the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control Conference.

“Everyday we see more and more bugs developing resistance to the antibiotics we use. Our doctors are running out of drugs to treat patients. Yet something as simple as washing hands can stop us getting infections in the first place, and help preserve the working drugs we have. 

"We need to get this message out to the public and make sure standards are being implemented in hospitals, clinics and homes across the country,” says Claire Boardman, Immediate Past President of ACIPC. 

“This is something everyone can do, and it’s everyone’s responsibility,” she adds.

Overuse of antibiotics has led to a world-wide escalation of drug-resistant microorganisms. Reliance on “broad spectrum antimicrobials” - more complex antibiotics - is increasing, as the standard drugs that form the cornerstone of modern medicine become ineffective.

The World Health Organisation has warned that many infectious diseases risk becoming uncontrollable. They have also reiterated the importance of hand hygiene in reducing the transmission of health-care associated infections.

“Hand hygiene is simple, affordable and effective. It can help cut our health costs by reducing reliance on more expensive drugs and by freeing up health services.  But most importantly, it can save lives.

"There is no excuse not to act.  Next week is International Infection Prevention Week.  We need to use this opportunity to get the message out to every home in Australia,” says Boardman

Source: ACIPC 2012 Conference