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New Multi-Country Antibiotic Resistance Survey Shows Lack Of Awareness

New Multi-Country Antibiotic Resistance Survey Shows Lack Of Awareness Homeland Security Today
 A recent multi-country survey revealed people are confused about the rising threat of antibiotic resistance to public health and are unclear about how to prevent it from growing.

This week marks the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week, launched by the World Health Organization (WHO). The campaign, "Antibiotics: Handle with care," is a global initiative to improve understanding of the problem and change the way antibiotics are used, to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

“The rise of antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis, and governments now recognize it as one of the greatest challenges for public health today. It is reaching dangerously high levels in all parts of the world,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General said Monday.

Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon that happens when bacteria change and become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause.

This latest survey points out that over-use and misuse of antibiotics increase the development of resistant bacteria and certain practices, gaps in understanding and misconceptions contribute tothis phenomenon.

According to WHO, the multi-country survey included 14 questions on the use of antibiotics, knowledge of antibiotics and of antibiotic resistance, and used a mix of online and face-to-face interviews, which were conducted in 12 countries, namely, Barbados, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam.

The study found nearly 60 per cent of 10,000 people who were surveyed across 12 countries acknowledged antibiotic resistance is an issue that can affect their families, but they are unsure of how it affects them.

Among the surveyed, nearly 64 percent of the respondents believe antibiotics can be used to treat colds and flu, despite the fact that antibiotics have no impact on viruses, and about 32 percent of people believed they should stop taking antibiotics when they feel better, rather than completing the prescribed course of treatment.

Further, the survey revealed nearly 76 percent of respondents believe antibiotic resistance happens when the body becomes resistant to antibiotics, when in fact bacteria, and not humans or animals, become resistant to antibiotics and their spread causes hard-to-treat infections.

Additionally, nearly 66 percent believed individuals are not at risk of drug-resistant infection if they personally take their antibiotics as prescribed, and nearly half the people surveyed thought antibiotic resistance is only a problem for people who take antibiotics regularly, whereas in reality, anyone of any age, in any country, can get an antibiotic-resistant infection.

The survey also found more than half the respondents felt there is little to be done to stop antibiotic resistance, and about 64 percent believed medical experts can stop the problem if it becomes too serious. An additional 73 percent of the respondents said farmers should give fewer antibiotics to food-producing animals.

At the same time, the survey also found people did not receive antibiotics prescriptions directly from a medical practitioner. For instance, about five percent of the respondents in Nigeria got their antibiotics from a hawker or a stall, and five percent of respondents in China got their antibiotics from  Internet businesses.

“The findings of this survey point to the urgent need to improve understanding around antibiotic resistance,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Special Representative of the Director-General for Antimicrobial Resistance.

“This campaign is just one of the ways we are working with governments, health authorities and other partners to reduce antibiotic resistance. One of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century will require global behavior change by individuals and societies,” Fukuda added.

In April, the United Nations reported only 34 countries have national plans to fight growing resistance to antibiotics, warning that the trend poses “the single greatest challenge in infectious diseases today."

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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