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Antibiotics losing their effectiveness due to overuse and misuse

17 November, 2008 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún in a hard hitting statement to coincide with European Antibiotic Resistance Day tomorrow, Tuesday 18th November, has said that people should be under no illusions about the dangers of over-reliance on antibiotics.

The former Health Minister said:

"Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate unforseen five years ago. There is a huge overuse of antibiotics in our society, and incorrect antibiotic use is putting lives at risk. The overuse of antibiotics causes bacteria to become more resistance to treatment and antibiotic resistance has already become a major threat to public health.

"Far too often people go to their doctor believing that they need a course of antibiotics to deal with a minor aliment. But people should know that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and are not appropriate treatments for a cold or flu. If people keep using antibiotics when they don't need them we will soon find that this weapon against serious infection is no longer available to us.

"Using medicines like paracetamol and ibuprofen can help to reduce pain and fever and make people feel more comfortable until symptoms subside.

"While antibiotics play a vital role in combating serious bacterial infections, their overuse is very dangerous. It is also important to complete the course if a doctor does issue a prescription for an antibiotic." ENDS

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