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Antibiotics

Analysis and Comment (24)

People know that antibiotics won’t help viruses. So why ask doctors for antibiotics? Subbotina Anna/Shuttstock

Have a cold? Don’t ask your doctor for antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health. Resistance makes it harder for physicians to treat infections and can increase the chance patients will die from an infection. What is more, the…
Australia’s reputation for strict farming standards helped its beef industry weather the BSE crisis. Malcolm Paterson/CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Australia shouldn’t sacrifice food safety standards for free trade

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
Bacteria under attack by a flock of bacteriophages. Graham Beards/Wikimedia Commons

Designer viruses could be the new antibiotics

Bacterial infections remain a major threat to human and animal health. Worse still, the catalogue of useful antibiotics is shrinking as pathogens build up resistance to these drugs. There are few promising…
Not pretty. Pete Seidel/Jack Poland/CDC

The bug that lost a few genes to become Black Death

About 6,000 years ago, a bacterium underwent a few genetic changes. These allowed it to expand its habitat from the guts of mice to that of fleas. Such changes happen all the time, but in this particular…
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…
No antibiotic resistant bacteria please - in your pork, beef, chicken, or throat. Dr Graham Beards

Charge fees for farm antibiotics to slow the spread of superbugs

The development of resistant bacteria over the past 50 years stands testament to the power of evolution. While scientists have discovered or created hundreds of antibiotics to kill bacteria, those bacteria…
This little thing changed the world. Science Museum London

A world without antibiotics would be a dark place indeed

The introduction into clinical practice of antibiotics is arguably the most significant medical advance of the 20th century. Together with immunisation and better public sanitation, they’ve had a significant…
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. 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…
A microscopic version of this kills bacteria. Ed Schipul

Silver bullets kill bacteria, not werewolves or witches

The use of silver in medicine is as old as western medicine itself. Hippocrates is known to have used it to treat ulcers and wounds, the Romans almost certainly knew of its healing properties, its use…
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…
Forget yoghurt, go to the chemist for an effective treatment for thrush. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: yoghurt cures thrush

Vaginal thrush, or “vulvovaginal candidiasis” is a common condition, with around three-quarters of women experiencing an episode in their lifetime. Many readers may be familiar with the unpleasant symptoms…
There are no magic bullets in the antibiotic pipeline that will eradicate the superbugs. Alessandro Pinna

New antibiotics: what’s in the pipeline?

Bacteria are one of the most successful colonisers of the planet. They can be found in almost all environments we know – from the deepest oceans to acid lakes, and inside and on our bodies. And the history…
As simple as the procedure sounds, we don’t yet fully understand how faecal transplants work. Image from shutterstock.com

Trading chemistry for ecology with poo transplants

Antibiotics joined our growing arsenal of weapons in the fight against disease over seventy years ago. Their target – the bacterial infections that putrefied our wounds, filled our lungs with pneumonia…
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…
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. 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. 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…
Few antibiotics preclude drinking alcohol but it’s a bad idea to get drunk when you have an infection. DeusXFlorida

Monday’s medical myth: you can’t mix antibiotics with alcohol

Staying off alcohol when taking antibiotics has been hallowed advice from GPs, pharmacists and well-meaning relatives for decades. It’s difficult to work out exactly where the advice orginated, but Karl…
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…

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