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By Shanice Naidoo

Digital Journalist


Department of Health warns against the unnecessary use of antibiotics as it may lead to resistance

Unnecessary use of antibiotics may cause resistance and you may become hard to treat for infections


As we observe World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18 –24 November), the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) urges the public to avoid the misuse of antibiotics.

According to the World Health Organisation, Antimicrobial resistance is one of the top global public health and development threats.

It makes infections harder to treat and makes other medical procedures and treatments such as surgeries much riskier.

Common bacteria such as those that cause urinary tract infections, Tuberculosis, wound infections, sepsis, pneumonia and sexually transmitted infections have become increasingly difficult to treat due to the development of resistance against antibiotics said GDoH.

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This is due to a large number of people incorrectly using antibiotics to try to cure viral infections such as flu, sinusitis, viral pharyngitis and bronchitis amongst others, as well as not completing their antibiotic treatment regime when diagnosed with bacterial infections.

“Antibiotics play a vital role in the management of bacterial infections, reducing morbidity and preventing mortality. However, the extensive use of antibiotics has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse the life-saving power of these medicines.

“The GDoH wishes to urge the public to vaccinate to prevent and cure viral infections which further extend to include measles, mumps and tetanus amongst others,” added GDoH.

ALSO READ: Antibiotics: safe or harmful?

Vaccines have proven to boost and help improve one’s immunity against viral infections. In addition, the public is encouraged to do their part in curbing antimicrobial resistance by adhering to the following principles:

  • Wash hand’s frequently to prevent infections and bacteria.
  • Complete antibiotic treatment regime when treating bacterial infections.
  • Continue with HIV and or Tuberculosis treatment to prevent drug resistance.
  • Do not insist on or agree to be prescribed antibiotics when diagnosed with a viral infection like colds and flu.

The theme for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2023 is “Preventing antimicrobial resistance together” and calls for cross-sectoral collaboration to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials.

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