ACIPC Issues a Challenge: Prepare for a World Without Antibiotics

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 30 September, 2013

The Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) is today issuing a challenge from the launch of its annual conference:  Prepare for a world without antibiotics.
“If we can’t treat infections, we’re going to have to prevent and control them,” says ACIPC President Marija Juraja.
ACIPC is calling for evidence-based solutions ranging from more stringent hygiene measures to novel strategies and technologies.
The College is also joining the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) to call for the establishment of a national health-care associated infection reporting system for Australia.
“We need better, more uniform reporting mechanisms and improved science for prevention measures such as environmental cleaning in order to implement cost-effective strategies that protect patients from untreatable infection,” says Ms Juraja.
The statement comes as two studies published this week in the College’s journal Healthcare Infection illustrate the underestimated burden of infection in Australian hospitals.
In a study looking at long-term survival following the common hospital infection Staphylococcus aureus the authors findings suggest that more people may be dying of the infection than we think. Current follow-up studies only look at deaths within 30 days or less after an episode, yet high rates of death continue for many months.
Another study on Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in intensive care units (ICU) found a high degree of colonisation in other clinical areas indicating a greater need to better control VRE transmission in all health care settings. VRE are Gram-negative organisms that are resistant to powerful antibiotics.
Infection remains the second most common cause of death around the world, with healthcare-associated infection (HAI) affecting at least 1 in 10 patients admitted into hospital.
ACIPC says the research presented at its conference offers ways of addressing these infections when the antibiotics no longer work. In particular it adds to a growing bank of research evaluating which hygiene measures work, how to improve compliance and paves the way for more effective, evidence-based strategies
“We’re looking at a back-to-the-future scenario, but back-to-the-future armed with new technology and expansive science to inform our approach. There is still time to prepare for a world without antibiotics. But we have to act now,” says Ms Juraja.
The 2013 ACIPC Conference brings together infection prevention and control experts from across the region. The conference is being held from September 30 -  October 2 on the Gold Coast

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