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In the news: Public Health England to reduce antibiotic prescriptions

Public Health England have launched the Keep Antibiotics Working campaign to try to reduce the amount of unnecessary antibiotic use in the UK; approximately 5,000 people in England die each year due to antimicrobial resistance.

The campaign will provide evidence to back up pharmacists when talking to patients about the over-prescription of antibiotics, as experts anticipate that in 30 years antibiotic resistance will cause more deaths than cancer and diabetes combined.

Earlier in the month Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, warned of a “post-antibiotic apocalypse” if the threat of antibiotic over-use is not curtailed.

Medical Director at Public Health England, Professor Paul Cosford, said: “Antibiotic resistance is not a distant threat, but is in fact one of the most dangerous global crises facing the modern world today.”

“Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk of developing infections which in turn cannot be easily treated with antibiotics. Without urgent action from all of us, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become much riskier.”

In 2016, 41 per cent of the most common cause of bloodstream infections – such as Escherichia coli – resisted the main antibiotic used to treat these infections in hospitals, according to Public Health England’s annual ESPAUR report.

Chief Executive of Antibiotic Research UK, Professor Colin Garner, said: “If we continue to use antibiotics where they are not required, the frequency of antibiotic resistance infections will continue to increase until modern medicine is significantly impacted and routine treatments no longer be possible.”

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