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Superbugs

Analysis and Comment (16)

Doctors are focused almost exclusively on treating the potential infection in the patient in front of them. Doctors are focused almost exclusively on treating the potential infection in the patient in front of them. Shutterstock

Infection control: why doctors over-prescribe antibiotics

Health authorities have long warned that antibiotics should only be used when they’re genuinely needed, to restrain antibiotic-resistant superbugs and avoid potentially serious side-effects. But many doctors…
Antibacterial products cost more and might contribute to bacterial resistance. Antibacterial products cost more and might contribute to bacterial resistance. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: should I use antibacterial hand sanitisers?

I should start by saying that an important part of my job is encouraging hospital staff to clean their hands. The World Health Organisation has a global patient safety campaign reminding us that Clean…
Research looked at whether applying medical grade honey to wound sites showed advantages over antibiotics. Research looked at whether applying medical grade honey to wound sites showed advantages over antibiotics. Rachel/Flickr

Honey not a contender in the fight against superbugs

If you haven’t heard about the threat “superbugs” (bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics) pose to our health, it’s likely you haven’t been conscious or on the planet for a couple of years. There are…
Time to shelve our overuse of antibiotics. Time to shelve our overuse of antibiotics. Elsamu

Superbugs move faster than governments can act

Infections and deaths caused by superbugs are increasing every year. So the government’s five-year strategy to tackle the problem, if a little tardy, is a welcome step. In January, Chief Medical Officer…
Not so super now. The end may be nigh for Staphylococcus aureus. Not so super now. The end may be nigh for Staphylococcus aureus. Wikipedia

Gold, silver and lasers: new weapons for the superbug war

Antibiotics have probably saved more lives than any other form of medication. Prior to their development, things that we now consider trivial, such as a prick from a rose bush or a sore throat, could easily…
Australia’s food chain has among the lowest rates of antibiotic resistance, but new threats call for stronger monitoring. Australia’s food chain has among the lowest rates of antibiotic resistance, but new threats call for stronger monitoring. Eli Duke

The hunt is on for superbugs in Australian animals

Australia has some of the world’s most conservative restrictions on using antimicrobial drugs in livestock. Possibly as a consequence, we have some of the lowest rates in the world of antibiotic resistance…
Only by prescribing antibiotics smarter instead of broader will we keep superbugs at bay. Only by prescribing antibiotics smarter instead of broader will we keep superbugs at bay. lamentables/Flickr

We can beat superbugs with better stewardship of antibiotics

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming a major problem. Calls to action on increasing rates of resistance have been made by the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC…
Bacteria can quickly adapt and overcome the antibiotics that used to kill them. Bacteria can quickly adapt and overcome the antibiotics that used to kill them. Image from shutterstock.com

Superbugs, human ecology and the threat from within

At the beginning of the 20th century, around one in three children in countries such as Australia and the United States died of infection before the age of five. But since Howard Florey first described…
Around 180,000 hospital-acquired infections occur in Australia each year. Around 180,000 hospital-acquired infections occur in Australia each year. Hospital image from shutterstock.com

Washing our hands of responsibility for hospital infections

Infections, like taxes, are inevitable (to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin). Most are acquired in the community and the dangerous ones are, in the main, very difficult to prevent. But many infections are…
Ask whether you really need to take antibiotics and be vigilant with food and water when traveling. Ask whether you really need to take antibiotics and be vigilant with food and water when traveling. duncan

We can beat superbugs – here’s how

Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are reaching epidemic proportions around the world, particularly in developing countries. In Australia, we’re also seeing increasing numbers of serious infections which…
Not taking the whole course of antibiotics leads to the survival of a small number of bacteria that can tolerate the drug. Not taking the whole course of antibiotics leads to the survival of a small number of bacteria that can tolerate the drug. Dave Rutt

Explainer: what are antibiotics?

You’ve got a high fever, severe cough and find it hard to breathe – all symptoms of severe pneumonia. Before antibiotics, you’d likely be dead within ten days. In fact, before we had these amazing drugs…
It’s time to reconsider using antibiotics as animal growth promoters. It’s time to reconsider using antibiotics as animal growth promoters. Bram Cymet

Would you like superbugs with that? Animal antibiotic use and human health

Two views in today’s Medical Journal of Australia deal with attitudes to risk and economics, but with the added gravitas of a life-or-death outcome added to the consideration. The articles discuss the…
Nano-silver can be found in everyday products such as these. Nano-silver can be found in everyday products such as these. Friends of the Earth

Nano-silver in household products could breed new superbugs

The widespread use of nano-silver particles in household items such as toothbrushes, socks and shoe inserts is contributing to the growth of superbugs, according to a Friends of the Earth report released…
Marsupials and monotremes could do the dirty on drug-resistant infections. Marsupials and monotremes could do the dirty on drug-resistant infections. Lorinda Taylor/AAP

Doctor’s pouch: Australian mammals hold the key to fighting superbugs

We know, because it’s big news, that drug-resistant infections are on the rise globally. But could Australian mammals hold the key to a fightback? Our current crop of antibiotics is in danger of becoming…
The development and dissemination of Salmonella Kentucky’s antimicrobial resistance may be caused by the antibiotics used in animals farmed for food. The development and dissemination of Salmonella Kentucky’s antimicrobial resistance may be caused by the antibiotics used in animals farmed for food. shannonkringen/flickr

Salmonella Kentucky: stopping the spread of a new superbug

Recent outbreaks of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (e-coli) in Germany and reports about the emergence of “new superbug” Salmonella Kentucky have re-focused public attention on food-borne diseases…
Radical approaches to drug discovery are required to combat superbugs. Radical approaches to drug discovery are required to combat superbugs. Holmesgal/flickr

Back to the future: breathing new life into old antibiotics to fight superbugs

The rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs” is a critical global health issue. Paradoxically, while there is a compelling need for new antibiotics, their development has slowed…

Research and News (5)

Research Briefs (9)

Using copper against ‘superbugs’

Using copper objects in hospitals reduces infection rates, a US study has found. Patients were randomly assigned to rooms…

Reducing superbugs through hand hygiene

An educational initiative has improved hand hygiene practices among health care workers and reduced rates of antibiotic-resistant…

Superbug can cause life-threatening diarrhoea

A common hospital bacterium can mutate into a superbug that causes potentially life-threatening diarrhoea, a Monash University-led…