Press Release

Minister for Health and Children, Ms Mary Harney T.D., acknowledges the significance of the 2nd European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18th November, 2009

The Minister for Health & Children, Ms Mary Harney T.D., today (Wednesday, 18th November) acknowledged the significance of the 2nd European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

This is a project of the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) and is supported by the European parliament.  The ECDC has been working in close collaboration with the Institutions of the European Union, member state authorities, the World Health organisation and many representative groups.

The aim of this, the 2nd European Antibiotic Awareness Day is to build on last year’s successful public education campaign and to continue to inform the general public about when and how to take antibiotics and why responsible antibiotic use is important.  The Minister noted that while antibiotics are regarded as one of the great medical advances of the 20th century and today form a cornerstone for the practice of medicine, the inappropriate use of antibiotics has become a serious threat to public health in Europe.  Taking antibiotics for the wrong reason or incorrectly causes bacteria to develop resistance against antibiotic treatments with a risk to rendering antibiotics ineffective in the future.  This has contributed significantly to the emergence of Healthcare Associated Infections world-wide and has resulted in a number of virulent infections which have developed a resistance to antibiotic treatments and can have major health implications.

The Minister acknowledged and commended the excellent work of the Health Service Executive through the National SARI Committee who through their work with the Irish College of General Practitioners have continued their endeavours to raise public awareness of the correct use of antibiotics.   The Minister welcomes the news that there has been a decrease in overall antibiotic use in Ireland in 2008 for the first time since 2000.  Minister Harney stated that “the decrease in antibiotic use indicates that the professional and public awareness of this important issue is increasing and urges professionals and the general public to maintain their vigilance around the prudent use of antibiotics.”