What is a superbug?

Bacteria are everywhere and mostly they are harmless. In fact, quite often they are helpful, but sometimes they cause illness.

They are responsible for minor skin or ear infections and for more serious and potentially deadly illnesses such as meningitis or pneumonia.

Bacterial infections are most often treated with a course of antibiotics.

Multi-resistant superbugs are a strain of bacteria that has mutated (changed) after coming into contact with an antibiotic.

The bacteria then becomes resistant to the antibiotic which means the antibiotic cannot kill the bacteria or stop them from multiplying. The result is that the bacteria continues to multiply, making the patient sicker as treatment options fade.

How does it happen?

Antibiotic overuse is a major cause of antibiotic resistance, as is incorrectly taking antibiotics you have been prescribed. And according to the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world.

In 2013, more than 29 million prescriptions were supplied to 45 per cent of Australians. But it’s not just humans who are being dosed. Agricultural antibiotic use is also a contributing factor, with the human consumption of antibiotic-treated chicken and livestock further increasing resistance.

The World Health Organisation has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to human health today.

Superbugs: 5 ways to protect yourself
There are measures we can take to prevent infection.

Around the world, there are millions of infections caused by superbugs every year.

Without antibiotics, people of all ages will die from sepsis (bloodstream infections), diarrhoea, urinary tract infections and pneumonia while our health system struggles to deal with their care.

In Australia, 170 people per week die from bacterial sepsis said Professor Matt Cooper, director of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Superbug Solutions.

Full Story here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-17/explainer-superbugs-and-the-solution/6552420

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