NUI Galway Centre for One Health shines a light on superbug research

Nov 19 2020 Posted: 17:01 GMT

New educational platform launched alongside webinar as part of initiatives to mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 

NUI Galway’s Centre for One Health has launched a new website to help educate children about the threat from superbugs.

The went live this week as part of initiatives to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

The website is designed for primary schools (2nd to 6th class) bringing together information, resources, games and experiments with informational videos by members of the team at the University's Ryan Institute Centre for One Health.

The reseacrh team is also hosting the second in their Spotlight Series of webinars to outline NUI Galway’s ongoing research on antibiotic resistant bacteria and to discuss with experts what society can do to tackle the problem.

Prof Dearbháile Morris, Director of the Ryan Institute Centre for One Health and Head of Discipline of Bacteriology, School of Medicine, NUI Galway, said: “World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a reminder of how much the discovery of antibiotics has helped us all to live longer and healthier lives, but also of how much is at stake if we do not act to safeguard antibiotics. 

“If we do not have antibiotics that work, certain types of surgery and cancer treatments will become almost impossible to perform safely.”

“We can safeguard antibiotics by making sure we only use them when we need them, by making sure we complete the dose as directed by the doctor, by not sharing antibiotics with others and by making sure we bring back any unused antibiotics to the pharmacy for correct disposal.”

The webinar takes place live on Zoom Friday 20 November from 2.30pm-4pm and registration is free via Eventbrite

Dr Liam Burke, Lecturer in Bacteriology at NUI Galway, who will be among the speakers says: “When a human or animal is given antibiotics, the bacteria inside them can sometimes change their genes in order to survive. These resistance genes can be shared to other bacteria, and can be spread to the environment in waste streams such as sewage and slurry.

“The global spread of antimicrobial resistance is maybe the best example of a One Health challenge, as it connects the health of humans, the health of animals and that of our shared environment.”

Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria – the facts:

:: A particular type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae, CPE for short, were declared a public health emergency in Ireland in October 2017.

:: Some superbugs can harmlessly colonise a healthy person’s gut but they can have serious consequences if they get into the blood or urine and pose particular risk to vulnerable people.

:: The first report of a death due to an untreatable infection emerged from the US in 2017.

:: Scientists estimated that by 2050, 10 million deaths per year will be due to antibiotic-resistant infections.

:: EU Health states that up to half of all antimicrobial use in European hospitals may be unnecessary or inappropriate which might lead to antimicrobial resistance.



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