Hospital super-bug may be tip of iceberg

Published: Mon 29 Oct 2007 03:15 PM
29 October 2007
Hospital super-bug may be tip of iceberg
The outbreak of an antibiotic resistant superbug in Auckland Hospital is a wakeup call for New Zealand, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.
"Senior micro-biologists and the Green Party have been warning for years that antibiotic resistance poses a very serious threat to public health. What sort of incident is required before the authorities recognise that urgent testing and research into antibiotic resistance is needed?
"The Auckland Hospital outbreak may well be only the tip of the iceberg, but there is no way of knowing if antibiotic resistant bugs exist in communities outside hospitals, in live animals or in meat destined for human consumption. In fact no one has a clear idea of the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in New Zealand, because there is very little testing done at all.
"It is entirely possible that vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are already established in communities in New Zealand without our knowledge. Health authorities have not been undertaking the necessary testing and have not been treating this public health issue with the urgency that it demands," Ms Kedgley says.
The Green Party has been calling for more than eight years for regular monitoring and testing of the level of antibiotic resistance in humans and in animals - particularly chickens, which are routinely fed antibiotics from the same classes of drugs that are also used to treat humans.
Many experts attribute the emergence of super-bugs to indiscriminate use of antibiotics, the failure of patients to complete their antibiotic courses and the routine use of antibiotics in the feed of healthy animals.
"While we can't say for certain that the current Auckland superbug case was caused by the indiscriminate feeding of antibiotics to livestock either here or overseas, this incident should trigger a New Zealand response which addresses all the avenues for superbug development.
"The Green Party is calling for a precautionary approach. We need to regularly test for antibiotic resistance in those animals being fed antibiotics. We also need to prohibit the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals that are not sick," Ms Kedgley says.
"The spread of antibiotic resistance will undermine many important medical advances of the last 150 years. Society can never regain the effectiveness of antibiotics, if they are lost in this way."

Next in New Zealand politics

Speech From The Throne
By: New Zealand Government
Law Commission Recommends New DNA Laws For Criminal Investigations
By: Law Commission
New Zealand Government To Declare A Climate Emergency
By: New Zealand Government
Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management
By: New Zealand Government
Green Party Announce Portfolio Reshuffle With Talented And Energised Caucus Team
By: Green Party
NZ Govt Considers Making House Prices Part Of RBNZ Mandate
By: XE Money Transfer
Green Party Respond To Government Review Of Housing Settings
By: Green Party
Rewriting The Rulebook On DNA In Criminal Investigations – Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
Government To Consider Recommendations On DNA Use In Criminal Investigations
By: New Zealand Government
Climate Change An Economic Issue; Critical For The Planet’s Future
By: Make Lemonade
Climate Emergency Declaration A Win But Needs Action
By: Greenpeace New Zealand
Declaration Of ‘Symbolic’ Climate Emergency
By: Extinction Rebellion
Minimum Wage Hike Isn’t What The Economy Needs
By: New Zealand National Party
Why Not $50 An Hour?
By: ACT New Zealand
Greens Commit To Ensuring Strong Oceans Protection This Term
By: Green Party
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media