Cayman Healthcare Consulting Feature - Antibiotic Overuse

By: Barrie Quappé RN, BSN – Consultant/Director:

For decades there have been warnings of the over-prescription and over-use for antibiotics. Apparently the fear of facing ‘super-bugs’ or person’s immune systems being unable to combat basic infection was not enough as one report notes that we have been treating them as if they were candy.

A report in the BBC news notes that: “Lord Jim O’Neill, who led the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, said a campaign was needed to stop people treating antibiotics like sweets. It is the first recommendation in the global plan for preventing medicine “being cast back into the dark ages”.” (Anon., 2016)

This threat is very real – the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (‘CDC’) provides tools to reduce resistance from increasing but globally the threat is at a critical peak. The BBC News reports:

“Superbugs, resistant to antimicrobials, are estimated to account for 700,000 deaths each year. But modelling up to the year 2050, by Rand Europe and auditors KPMG, suggests 10 million people could die each year – equivalent to one every three seconds.” (Anon. 2016)

So how are we dealing with this in Cayman? As a registered practitioner I have not received any notification that this is being looked at. The next best thing for us to do is to stay abreast of our trusted medical news and consider implementing strategies as provided on the CDC’s website as applicable to our own practices.

Cayman is subject to the global trends as we have a popular tourist destination. Recently we noted that a patient was diagnosed locally with the Zika virus but it had been acquired in another country due to travel. Travel has made us vulnerable to the import of more diseases and we must do everything we can to reduce the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance.

The UK’s Medical Research Council (‘MRC’) has recently committed significant funding for further research. “Three large collaborative grants, totalling £9.5m, have been announced by the MRC as part of a cross-council initiative to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).” (Anon., 2016)

The MRC article continues:

“The awards mark one of the biggest investments into AMR since the initiative launched and will use new technology to exploit natural compounds, develop a tool to offer better diagnostics and explore how the body’s own immune system can be boosted to fight infection.”

Something for us all to monitor. Seriously.

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