World COVID-19 News: Survey Shows That 92% Of Australians Do Not Know The Difference Between Viral And Bacterial Infections
World COVID-19 News
: The world is already four months into the COVID-19 Global Pandemic that is caused by the SAR-CoV-2 coronavirus and public health awareness is at a all-time high. However what is shocking to discover is that 92% of Australians do not know the difference between a viral infection and a bacterial one. (Fortunately the 8 percent are the ones who most probably read Thailand Medical News!) https://outbreakproject.com.au/2020/05/14/public-information-key-to-combatting-rising-superbug-threat/
The shocking statistics comes from a survey carried out by CSIRO in March to inform the work on the OUTBREAK project: a multi-agency mission aimed at preventing outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
The survey covering 2,217 individuals highlights a disturbing lack of knowledge about germs and antibiotics.
The survey reveals 13% of Australians wrongly believe COVID-19, a viral disease, can be treated with antibiotics, which target bacteria.
Furthermore more than a third of respondents thought antibiotics would treat the 'flu or a sore throat, while 15% assumed antibiotics were effective against chicken pox or diarrhea.
Interestingly 25% of those surveyed had never heard of antibiotic resistance, 40% admitted having taken antibiotics that did not clear up an infection.
Shockingly 14% had taken antibiotics as a precaution before travelling overseas, despite this being unnecessary and ineffective for warding off holiday ailments. This practice can also lead to antibiotic resistance.
The survey results are deeply worrying, because Australians who do not understand how antibiotics work are more likely to misuse or overuse them. This in turn fuels the rise of drug-resistant bacteria (also known as "superbugs") and life-threatening infections.
Although COVID-19 has brought the economy to its knees, superbugs pose major economic challenges too. Hospitals in Australia already spend more than A$11 million a year treating just two of the most threatening drug-resistant infections, ceftriaxone-resistant E. coli and methicillin-resistant MRSA.
Lacking effective antibiotics, thousands more individuals will die from sepsis and people will be sicker for longer, slashing the size of the workforce and productivity.
A forecast shows that by 2050, drug-resistant bacteria are forecast to cost the nation at least A$283 billion and kill more people than cancer.
An effective manner to stop this is to improve public understanding of the value of antibiotics. Antibiotics that lose their effectiveness are very difficult to replace, so they need to be treated with respect.
Literally all the antibiotics at present were developed years ago and, of the 42 antibiotics under development worldwide, only five are considered truly new, and only one targets bacteria of greatest drug-resistance concern.
No one knows the full impact of drug-resistant bacteria in Australia. With about 75% of emerging infectious diseases coming from animals, there is no time to waste in getting a better understanding of how superbugs are spreading between humans, the environment and animals. That is where the OUTBREAK project comes in.
This movement led by the University of Technology Sydney, utilizes AI to analyze an immense amount of human, animal and environmental data, creating a nationwide system that can predict antibiotic-resistant infections in real time. It maps and models responses and provides important information to doctors, councils, farmers, vets, water authorities, and other stakeholders.
The movement OUTBREAK offers Australia a unique opportunity to get on the front foot against superbugs. It would save millions of lives and billions of dollars, and could even be scaled globally.
Besides this high-tech response, OUTBREAK needs Australians to get to know their germs, and stop taking antibiotics unnecessarily. Without antibiotics, individuals may find themselves facing a host of new incurable diseases, even as the world grapples with COVID-19.
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