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New Zealand marks Antibiotic Awareness Week

The Ministry of Health is highlighting the steps New Zealanders can take to help fight antibiotic resistance, as World Antibiotic Awareness Week gets underway.

Director of Protection, Regulation and Assurance, Dr Stewart Jessamine, says “Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem that affects us all.

“Without antibiotics, some infections will no longer be able to be treated, and we could face a future where organ transplants, chemotherapy, and other medical procedures are no longer possible.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Antimicrobial Resistance report 2014 shows that New Zealand currently has comparatively low rates of resistance.

“However there’s no room for complacency, as there has been a rise in antibiotic resistant infections.

“As part of the WHO Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, New Zealand is working towards developing a national action plan by May 2017.

“While this work is taking place at a national level, there are also a number of simple actions that individuals can take to help reduce antibiotic resistance.

“Only take antibiotics that are prescribed to you, and never use ‘leftover’ antibiotics.

“Try to avoid picking up bacterial infections that require treatment with antibiotics. Vaccination when possible and good hand washing are easy ways to help stay well.

“Antibiotics are a precious resource. We all have a part to play in ensuring that these lifesaving medicines remain effective.”

For more information on antibiotic resistance, go to the Ministry of Health website: www.health.govt.nz/antibioticresistance

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