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Superbugs - why they matter to Singapore

19 Sep 2016

Antibiotic-resistant E.coli bacteria is a growing public health and medical concern in many countries. Image: BBC

On 21 September 2016, the United Nations will convene a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a problem which occurs when drugs used against pathogens become ineffective.

The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing one, with infections and deaths from "superbugs" exceeding those of SARS, Zika or dengue, says Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang, Programme Leader of the School's Antimicrobial Resistance Programme.  

Greater use of antibiotics in treating infectious diseases has increased the pressure on bacteria to evolve and develop a resistance to drugs, and hence there is a need to reduce the inappropriate usage of antibiotics and develop cost-effective and easily implemented alternatives, explains A/Prof Hsu. Antimicrobial resistance is a global public health and medical concern which threatens to undermine many medical advancements brought about any medications currently effective against infections both benign and life-threatening. 

Sustained efforts to inculcate good personal hygiene will help minimise the spread of infectious diseases, reducing the need for antibiotic use. Public education efforts on the appropriate use of antibiotics should also be continued, including educating doctors to make prudent treatment decisions to safeguard patients' health.  

Media Coverage:

  • The Straits Times, 19 September 2016, Monday 
  • TODAY, 21 September 2016, Wednesday

 

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