Antimicrobial resistance (or antibiotic resistance) is considered by the World Health Organisation to be one of today’s biggest threats to global health. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, antimicrobial resistance is a health emergency.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria can resist the effect of antibiotics, and therefore the antibiotics don’t work. A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
Dr Neil O’Brien, Chief Clinical Officer for County Durham CCG said: “If we don’t take action, antibiotic resistance will become a huge problem, causing infections that can’t be treated and making common interventions such as hip replacements, caesarean sections and chemotherapy more complex.”
“While antibiotics are really important in the prevention and treatment of infections when used appropriately, it is estimated that at least 20 per cent of all antibiotic prescriptions are not needed, and this is accelerating the problem of resistance”
“Many common conditions such as coughs, colds, sore throats and ear infections will not respond to antibiotics.”
Dr O’Brien added “County Durham CCG has the highest rate of prescribing in the country, which is why we are pleased to launch the Seriously campaign in County Durham to raise awareness of this serious issue with our patients and the public and to encourage people to only use antibiotics if they are needed.”
“Together we can work to slow down antibiotic resistance and keep antibiotics working for the future.” The Seriously campaign launches across social media and in schools in County Durham this week to coincide with World Antibiotic Awareness Week, and will run until the spring with engagement from GP practices and community pharmacies. It aims to raise awareness of the issue of antibiotic resistance, reduce misuse of the treatment and encourage individuals to consider the alternatives and effective self-care.