With few new antibiotics that have developed in recent years, health agencies say that their responsible use is absolutely critical to people's health.
The Ministry of Health, PHARMAC, ACC, the Health and Safety Quality Commission and the Choosing Wisely Council of Medicine campaign are supporting the 2018 World Antibiotic Awareness Week that begins today.
Dr. Sally Roberts, the clinical leader in the program for the prevention and control of the infection of the Commission, says that the time necessary to develop new antibiotics, combined with the lack of incentives for pharmaceutical companies to produce it, means resistance to antibiotics when bacteria are Exposed to an antibiotic and change to resist its effects – it is a growing threat.
"The deadline for developing a new antibiotic is 10-15 years and it is not very profitable for companies since antibiotics tend to be used only for short courses. As a result, the antibiotic gas pipeline slowed.
"With worldwide antibiotic resistance, it is vital that we preserve the remaining antibiotics we have. They should be treated as precious goods and not used indiscriminately when they are not necessary.
"Avoiding infections in the first place reduces the amount of antibiotics that should be used, thus reducing the chance for germs to develop resistance. The best way to prevent infections is to cleanse your hands with regularity and depth.
The medical director of PHARMAC, Dr. John Wyeth, says antibiotics are not always the best treatment for some common infections and it is important to know when and when it does not take them.
"Colds and flu can not be fixed by antibiotics because they are caused by viruses, not by bacteria. Antibiotics also do not help that most ear infections improve faster.
"Your doctor will tell you if antibiotics are the right treatment for you. Trust your tips and do not expect antibiotics every time. We all need to help keep antibiotics working."
Dr. Derek Sherwood of the campaign Choosing Wisely says that an increasing number of infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhea, are increasingly difficult to treat, since antibiotics used for treatment become less effective.
"Resistance to antibiotics leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality."
The Choosing Wisely website has a number of resources for consumers with information about when antibiotics and alternatives for treating common diseases are not needed.
Dr. Caroline McElnay, director of public health at the Ministry of Health, says that it is important to have a joint response to address antibiotic resistance.
"Health agencies collaborate with other key actors, especially the Ministry of Primary Industries and agricultural sector organizations.
"This collaborative approach recognizes that resistance to antibiotics is more than a health problem and has the potential to affect many areas of our lives, including agriculture and food production.
"By working with partners throughout New Zealand and around the world, we are ensuring that New Zealand is well placed to address antibiotic resistance," says Dr. McElnay.