The Sydney Morning Herald


“Experts are warning of a not-too-distant future where life-saving medical interventions will be too risky to undertake; a future where chemotherapy is impossible and organ transplants are no longer an option. They say this would happen in a world without effective antibiotics, and they are calling for more public awareness of the problem of rising antimicrobial resistance.”

“Up to 90 per cent of the antibiotics used to treat human disease were prescribed by GPs, Prof Collignon said, and in more than half of these cases their use was unnecessary or could have been avoided.”

“Antibiotics also kill off the body’s friendly bacteria, or “gut flora”, creating an opportunity for re-colonisation with more resistant bacterial strains. “We need to make people understand that this is part of your body, in fact you carry around 1.5 kilograms of bacteria and they are very important,” Prof Cars said. “Many infections that you get, with a clear example being urinary tract infection, comes from the gut flora. The more antibiotics you use, necessary or unnecessary, the more you select your own flora towards a more resistant population – so when you get infections they become more and more difficult to treat.” Studies have shown it can take months, or even years, for a person’s gut flora to return to the state before a course of antibiotics. Prof Cars advised: “Save your own bacteria… you should be friends with them. We have to save these precious drugs for the very ill.”

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