Lifestyle

Superbugs on the rise due to overuse of antibiotics

ANTIBIOTIC resistance is on the rise in the form of superbugs that are difficult to treat.

Overuse and inappropriate antibiotic use is responsible for the emergence and spread of these bugs, says UNSW's Dr Peter Taylor, assistant director of microbiology at the Prince of Wales and St George Hospitals.

The other contentious point is to do with the liberal use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine and agriculture (meat production) globally that leads to unwitting transfer of antibiotic-resistant strains with our food, he says.

While the solution may be new antibiotics that deal with new strains of bacteria, that too is problematic.

New antibiotics to treat infections are slow to come on the market because they are not the money spinners that, say, drugs to treat cholesterol are (see fact box).

Compare the profits on antibiotics to the cost of getting one new medicine approved for use, say researchers.

It's estimated to be $1.4 billion, with 12 to 15 years of research and development.

Antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis is on the rise and, at the same time, the World Health Organisation has issued a warning about a new strain of gonorrhoea that is antibiotic resistant and is spreading around the world.

Medicines Australia has reported that already, 7000 people die each year from drug-resistant bacteria - such as golden staph infections - which is about 20 Australians a day.

While health authorities are seriously concerned about these new bugs and medics are trying to promote more government action on the issue, right now caution and prevention is key.

In Europe a multi-national surveillance program of superbugs provides trending data, says Dr Taylor.

"There is a global program on TB and multi-drug resistance, as that is a very important disease," he says.

"Similarly there is one for gonorrhoea that originated from and continues in Australia."

More research funds are needed, however, if these programs are to stay one step ahead of superbugs, or even catch them up.

Certainly it is difficult to know what precautions to take to avoid a staph infection.

Many of these infections are caught in hospitals where staph has been able to sneak its way in.

On the gonorrhoea front, safe sex might be an old message but never has it been more relevant.

Figures from the University of New South Wales, show gonorrhoea cases went up 25% last year, compared to 2010. In fact gonorrhoea peaked at more than 10,000 cases.

Health authorities advise either practising abstinence, using a condom every time you have sex or being in a relationship with a monogamous partner who has been screened for sexually transmitted diseases.

As for the future, our hopes must lie in the ability of authorities to keep track of superbugs and pharmaceutical companies being given enough incentive to make the development of new antibiotics attractive.

 

Top medicines by sales globally

Lipitor -  cholesterol lowering $13,288 million

Plavix -  antiplatelet agent $9,100 million

Nexium - gastric reflux disease $8,236 million

Seretide - asthma medication $8,099 million

Seroque - bipolar disorder $6,012 million

Enbrel - rheumatoid arthritis $5863 million

Remicade - rheumatoid arthritis $5453 million

Crestor - cholesterol lowering $5383 million

Zyprexa - anti-psychotic $5357 million

Humira - rheumatoid arthritis, $5032 million

Avastin - anti-cancer $5015 million

Singulair - asthma $4986 million

Source: Medicines Australia

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  doctors drugs health lifestyle medicine virus world health organisation



Nationals will not stop Essential Energy job cuts

Essential Energy workers are facing forced redundancies within weeks, according to unions.

Nationals leader rules out blocking Essential Energy's 600 job cuts

Where there's a will, there's $75,000 for orphanage

A man has left a third of his $232,000 estate to the Grafton orphanage.

St Joseph's Cowper children's home receives $75,000 from will

SPECIAL: Tweed's class of 2016

Kingscliff High School Formal @ Bond Uni - Kelsey Bonser, Cormac Lawrence

Souvenir of all the Tweed formals

Local Partners

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Multi-level waterfront living in Bilambil Heights

121 Peninsula Dr, Bilambil Heights

Check out this week's feature property.

Retreat along the Rous River

701 Dulguigan Road, North Tumbulgum

Check out this week's feature property.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!