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Antibiotic stewardship

By: Floro Mercene

Antibiotics can be lifesavers, but misuse and overuse promotes antibiotic resistance. Drugs that used to be standard treatments for bacterial infections are now less effective or don’t work at all. When an antibiotic drug no longer has an effect on a certain strain of bacteria, those bacteria are said to be antibiotic resistant. Without effective drugs, doctors cannot treat patients.

“Taking antibiotics even when they’re not the appropriate treatment – promotes antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections but not viral infections. For example, an antibiotic is an appropriate treatment for strep throat, which is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus. pyogenes. It’s not, however, the right treatment for most sore throats, which are caused by viruses. If you take an antibiotic when you actually have a viral infection, the antibiotic is still attacking bacteria in your body – bacteria that are either beneficial or at least not causing disease. This misdirected treatment can then promote antibiotic-resistant properties in harmless bacteria that can be shared with other bacteria”, as explained by Mayo Clinic (Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk).

For years, doctors have dispensed antibiotics for minor ailments, such as a sore throat or fever, even though the drugs, which are meant to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria in the body, have little effect on colds or other viral illnesses.

Resistance to carbapenem antibiotics – usually the last remaining treatment option for patients infected with multidrug resistant superbugs – was detected for the first time in animals and food, albeit at low levels according to EU-wide annual monitoring for the report.

We all have a responsibility to ensure that antibiotics keep working. Doctors should thoroughly explain to patients that the unnecessary uses of antibiotics can only do harm and not good.