As Antibiotic Awareness Week 2014 is held across Australia from 17-23 November, NPS MedicineWise is asking all Australians to imagine a world without antibiotics and join the fight against antibiotic resistance.

NPS MedicineWise CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, says that Antibiotic Awareness Week is a timely reminder that we all urgently need to take action to change the course of antibiotic resistance. The threat of antibiotics losing their power is a real prospect in the Australian community: without individual action, Australians face a dire future where simple infections could be life-threatening and surgery is deemed too high risk.

“Australians need to understand that antibiotic resistance is a significant and very real threat to personal health. As more antibiotics become ineffective against bacterial infections, we face the prospect of returning to a pre-antibiotics era where conditions we’ve been able to historically treat with antibiotics become untreatable.”

“This is a serious public health issue and it requires everyone to take action. The inappropriate use of antibiotics on an individual level contributes to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. Using antibiotics when you don’t need them may mean that they won’t work for you when you do need them in the future.”

Examples of bacteria in the community that have already developed resistance to a number of antibiotics include strains ofEscherichia coli (E. coli) that cause many urinary tract infections and ‘Golden Staph’, a common cause of skin infections. Failure of the last-resort antibiotic treatment for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea has been reported, and Australia has already experienced cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the community.

Dr Weekes said that a world without antibiotics is very real prospect unless we all join the fight to prevent antibiotic resistance.

“This is not just an issue our children or grandchildren will face. Antibiotic resistance is occurring in the community now and could easily affect any one of us,” says Dr Weekes.

“The more antibiotics are used, the more chance bacteria have to become resistant to them. If people take them inappropriately, when they are not needed or carelessly, it could have direct implications for them, their family and their community. The good news though is action now from individuals and health professionals can help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.”

The key messages for Australians to remember this Antibiotic Awareness Week are:

*  Antibiotic resistance is a personal threat that requires personal action. It is not just someone else’s problem.

*  Antibiotic resistance is not only a major issue for hospitals, veterinarians, or countries overseas. It is happening right now in the Australian community.

*  Overuse and misuse of antibiotics is increasing the problem of antibiotic resistance. We are all part of the problem and the solution.

*  Don’t always expect an antibiotic. Antibiotics do not work for all infections.

*  If you are prescribed an antibiotic, ask why it is necessary for your illness.

*  When you need antibiotics take them exactly as prescribed. Never save leftovers for another time or another person.

*  Always practise good hygiene to avoid infections and prevent them spreading to others.

This Antibiotic Awareness Week, NPS MedicineWise is calling on all health professionals and the Australian community to commit to change by pledging to fight antibiotic resistance at or at


  1. Unfortunately, antibiotic use/overuse is not always a ‘personal’ choice, but something about which we all need more awareness, and Government action to intercede in the profit driven motives in our food chain. Our society is deluged with antibiotics totally unknowing/unquantified entering the food chain in supplements given to animals especially, usually for non-health reasons, but primarily for weight gain. GP’s have to educate/take the time to tell patients re the ineffectiveness of antibiotics with viral infections. The Russians solve the problem cheaply, more effectively, and without even having to differentially diagnose between viral and bacterial. They use ultraviolet light to kill pathogens of any ilk, very effectively, and cheaply, without antibiotic resistance becoming an issue. A resurgence is also occurring in the use of traditional/pre-antibiotic regimes being re-introduced such as peroxide and other Oxygen elevating techniques, colloidal silver being used in hospitals for infection control and solving a previous huge problem of battle wound infections with field dressings impregnated with C.S. gel, and even our faithful Tea-tree oil which instantly kills HIV, Ebola etc, and even the much maligned iodine. As with soil health, a healthy body environment does not provide an environment in which pathogens flourish, so Neil’s previous article above summarising some of the benefits of Integrative and Complementary HEALTH Care looking for underlying CAUSES rather than treating symptoms that have developed well after the horse has bolted.

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