Antibiotic resistant bacteria reach record levels
Dublin – Ireland fears growing rates of resistant pneumococcus in the country's hospitals. A recent report by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that 32% of 124 clinical isolates tested were non-susceptible to treatment with penicillin, up from 21% in the previous quarter. The HPSC findings show the highest rate of drug resistance since monitoring began in 1999. Since this time, the prescription of antibiotics has been rising steadily in Ireland, noted the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP). According to the ICGP, the findings highlight "the need for changes to antibiotic prescribing practices". To tackle the problem, the college plans to roll out a series of training sessions for doctors, and will develop guidelines on antibiotic prescribing. In the meantime, the ICGP has advised general practitioners to only prescribe antibiotics when there is "clear cut evidence of bacterial infection" and to warn patients of the risks of taking antibiotics. They are also asked to ensure the antibiotic prescribed is no more broad spectrum than required and that the patient completes the course of antibiotics. Other EU countries are currently running public information campaigns about the proper use of antibiotics.