11: Antibiotic resistance

Peter J Collignon, Series Editors:
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (6): 325-329.


  • Antibiotic resistance is a consequence of antibiotic use — we need to use antibiotics less and to use them prudently.

  • Plans to combat antibiotic resistance were recently proposed by the World Health Organization, a United States interagency taskforce and the Australian Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance.

  • Prudent antibiotic use includes not using antibiotics when benefit is minimal (eg, in many respiratory tract infections), using narrow-spectrum antibiotics whenever possible and using optimal dosages and regimens.

  • The need for antibiotic therapy can be reduced by preventing infections through vaccination, infection control measures and improved sanitation.

  • Surveillance of antibiotic resistance is needed to target interventions for minimising antibiotic use.

  • More research is needed into new antibiotics and regimens and into improving medical devices and protocols to prevent infection.

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  • Peter J Collignon
  • Series Editors:

  • Infectious Diseases Unit and Microbiology Department, Canberra Hospital, Woden, ACT.

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