How Australians can reduce antibiotic resistance

Statement from Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Medical Officer

World Antibiotic Awareness Week, 13 – 19 November 2017

To mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week for 2017, we are calling for all Australians, including all prescribers in human and animal health, to pause and consider antibiotic use.

Antibiotic resistance is happening now in Australia and around the world. We need to take urgent action to reduce antibiotic resistance in Australia.

The more we use antibiotics, the more chance bacteria have to become resistant to them.

We know that antibiotics are overused in human health in Australia. Australia is currently ranked one of the highest users of antibiotics compared to similar countries.

A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.

The rise in resistant infections means that both human and animal health care professionals are left with limited, or in some instances, no available treatment options.

Even if new antibiotics are developed, without behaviour change, antibiotic resistance will remain a major threat.

Antibiotics are important medicines, however it is also important that everyone understands that they only work against bacteria. Antibiotics do not work against infections caused by a virus and will not make you feel better.

There are many things that you can do to take action. Visit the new www.amr.gov.au website to find out more information on what you can do to combat antibiotic resistance in Australia.

The website has information for various audiences including:

  • General public
  • Animal owners
  • General practice
  • Hospitals
  • Aged care
  • Veterinary practice
  • Agriculture and industry

We encourage all Australian’s to get involved in our efforts to reduce antibiotic resistance in Australia.

Dr Tony Hobbs, Acting Chief Medical Officer

Dr Mark Schipp, Chief Veterinary Officer

Date published: 
10 November 2017