Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Antibiotics – How Antibiotic Resistance affects our world!

The abuse and misuse of antibiotics is speeding up the process of previously treatable bacterial diseases to be now untreatable through antibiotic resistance. That much so such bacterial infections such as Golden staph and tuberculosis have become resistant to antibiotics. With even common infections such as pneumonia, Bloodstream infections and even Gonorrhoea are getting harder and harder to treat through antibiotic resistance [1].

The risk factor of untreatable infections goes up significantly for those with weakened immune systems to contract bacterial infections that cannot be treated with such groups such as newborns, elderly and the homeless that can end in dire circumstances of for the person involved [2].

This leads to many issues affecting a whole range of areas and expertise in the world, such as the medical costs due to bacterial infections. With some antibiotics less affective these days, in respects to the hospitals and the health system. This means they need to take care of patients for longer, due to the medical treatment being more complicated which in turn increases health care costs and will cause an even greater strain on our current health system and therefore everyone’s pockets[3].

This is backed up by the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) through a study in 2011 that antibiotic resistance is that much of a financial burden that in the United States it is estimated to cost $20 billion a year in excess health costs, $35 billion in other societal costs and a cumulative 8 million extra days that people spend in hospital [4]. Whilst in Australia it is estimated to cost $250 million per year to the health-care budget whilst the societal costs as much as $500 million a year [5].

So as it can be seen this problem is causing a major financial burden in our world with a ridiculous amount of money being used to fight the problem rather than trying to address it better and to educate the public and businesses to attempt to prevent the spread of bacterial infections from occurring.

It’s not only in our health that the resistance is happening in but all around us, especially in the livestock industry.  As animals need antibiotics just like us to treat sickness, prevent illness or control diseases on a larger scale when few have been diagnosed. Antibacterial resistance can be passed down through the food chain and hence this is also a great focus on improving how Antibiotics are used in these industries. (I have shown below a simple info graphic which shortly explains how it spreads from the farm to you.) With some cases they have been used to improve feed efficiency and weight gain in healthy animals [3].

10-img22

Image: http://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2014/dpk-carb.html

 

Finally This Concern has been addressed by the Australian government under its National Antimicrobial Strategy 2015-2019, which relies heavily upon the department of Agriculture and water sources. Where in this strategy there is a report on the Surveillance and reporting of antibiotic resistance and usage agriculture in Australia. Which looks into current antimicrobial use and monitoring in the agricultural sector and also options for a national approach for monitoring and resistance surveillance [6]. This is a start to the solution of the problem in the agricultural sector and after 2019 hopefully there will be nationwide surveillance technique that can be implemented to stop this trend of antibiotic resistance continuing at the current rate.

 

References

[1] – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-01/antibiotic-resistance-poses-threat-to-global-health-who-report/5422080

[2] – http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/drugs-products-medicaments-produits/buying-using-achat-utilisation/antibiotic-resistance-antibiotique/impacts-repercussions-eng.php

[3] – http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm349953.htm                  

[4] – http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p0407_antimicrobialresistance.html

[5] – http://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Briefing-paper-for-One-Health-AMR-Colloquium-participants-Final-Jul-2013.pdf

[6] – http://www.agriculture.gov.au/animal/health/amr

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One comment on “Antibiotics – How Antibiotic Resistance affects our world!

  1. rrupra
    May 3, 2016

    Hi there,
    Antibiotics are an important topic of discussion in today’s society, and hence I felt the need to read your article. At the beginning of your article you mention that the abuse and misuse of antibiotics is the cause of antibiotic resistance. But how has society misused antibiotics? You could consider mentioning that the misuse of antibiotics starts from our medical experts who are prescribing antibiotics to patients that could possibly go without. This could be the basis of your argument, and you can further elaborate from this point, and go on to discuss how antibiotics are becoming less effective and in turn is costing the medical profession millions.
    Your article was very informative about how antibiotic resistance has become a significant cost on our medical system today, and I very much agree that it is causing a financial burden throughout the world. You have also made a valid argument when saying that we need to address this issue and educate the public on how to properly manage this issue. I believe it is very important to warn the public of what might happen if nothing is implemented. However to add to your argument you could suggest some ways in which we can educate the public, such as persisting hygiene at a younger age, and asserting the consequences associated if antibiotic misuse continues.
    I very much enjoyed reading your article. Thanks

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2016 by in Geelong - Wednesday 3pm, Uncategorized.

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