Health authorities are making more emphasis that the use of antibiotics do not work for every sickness and their abuse leads to health complications. They warned that excessive use of antibiotics is creating microbes in the body which are resistant to this medicine and may lead to death. A strategy has been launched by the Health Ministry to better control this problem.
Professor Michael Borg, who leads a working group on the control of antibiotics, said that the use of these medicines when they are not necessary, creates resistance with the consequence that these medicines are not effective when they are then needed.
He said, “we have kilos of microbes in our body which take the antibiotic which is not intended for them, however for another thing they become resistant, that is whereas before they are killed because they had tasted the antibiotic, this will no longer affect them and those microbes may spread both with the patient himself. This leads to an infection in the future on which antibiotics do not work, however are also spread around you – your family and other persons you meet with”.
Professor Borg added that statistics show that as a result of this resistance to antibiotics, some 30,000 persons die in Europe while in Malta there are some 25 deaths a year.
Public Health superintendent, Charmaine Gauci, together with the working group, launched the Action Plan for the Prevention and Containment of Resistance to Antimicrobes. The seven-sections strategy provides for a legislative and educational framework so that, within 15 other years, there is a reversal of the tendency of microbes spreading which are resistant to antibiotics.
Dr Gauci said “unfortunately, many people think that when a person has flu, antibiotics will work on him. Flu is caused by viruses that antibiotics do not work on; therefore our appeal is to follow doctor’s orders”.
It was pointed out during a press conference that although consumption of antibiotics has slightly reduced, is still high when compared with EU countries. When a doctor prescribes antibiotics, all the pills should be taken. The strategy is also aimed at more control in the use of antibiotics in animals.