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Antibiotics

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Recommended antibiotic courses are often arbitrary. Katy/Flickr

No, you don’t have to finish all your antibiotics

Advice that you have to finish the whole course of antibiotics reflects long-standing convention or the drug manufacturer’s decision during an initial trial, rather than scientific evidence.
Superbug breeding ground? It’s not just hospitals that have to battle the threat of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Wong Wentong/Shutterstock.com

The water industry needs to join the fight against superbugs

The fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria – so-called “superbugs” – is a huge challenge, one that the World Health Organization has described as a grave global problem. When superbugs hit the headlines…
We’re in a protracted war against superbugs because we’ve overused existing antibiotics: a key weapon against disease. Nomadic Lass/Flickr

We need new antibiotics to beat superbugs, but why are they so hard to find?

We’ve heard a lot lately about superbugs – bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. But as the threat of superbugs continues to rise, the number of new treatments available has flatlined. This…
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…
Better antimicrobial stewardship could curb infection rates. Global Panorama/Flickr

Overuse of antibiotics tied to increase in painful gut infection

Going to the hospital can save your life, but it is not without risks. Patients can be exposed to dangerous infections while receiving treatment. In the United States, health care-associated infections…
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…
Allergic reactions to food have dramatically increased over the past 10 to 20 years. Dan Peled/AAP

Changes to bugs in the gut could prevent food allergies

Changing the bacteria in the gut could treat and prevent life-threatening allergies, according to research published in the…
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…
Scientists have discovered that the natural environment is a major reservoir of antibiotic resistant genes. Flickr: bizjournal

Study finds widespread antibiotic resistance in nature

Resistance to commonly used antibiotics are in the genes of bacteria everywhere, researchers at the University of Lyon in…
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…

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