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World Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Week: Antibiotics are often misused

According to Professor Robin Green, in South Africa, high levels of antibiotic resistance already exist, mostly due to inappropriate antibiotic management and consumption.

Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN – As the world observes Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Week, a university professor said antibiotic resistance could claim 10 million lives a year by 2050.

According to University of Pretoria’s Professor Robin Green, Africa already has a high burden of infectious diseases, including a large portion of bacterial origin; in South Africa, high levels of antibiotic resistance already exist, mostly due to inappropriate antibiotic management and consumption.

Green, who is the chairman of the school of medicine and director of paediatric services at the University of Pretoria, said antibiotics regimens were being misused.
“Antibiotics do solve a number of bacterial infections, but we blur the boundaries between the fact that not all users require an antibiotic.”

He said antibiotics should never be used to treat colds.

“We should really not be using antibiotics for obvious viral infections such as a cold or flu.”

Several programmes are now in place to drive down antibiotic use for obvious viral infections.

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