August 20, 2018
Wasted antibiotics causing resistance
A new study has found Māori and Pacific people are more likely to be prescribed antibiotics for sore throats, leading to higher levels of antibiotic resistance.
The University of Auckland study reported in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal looked at almost 5 million antibacterial prescriptions dispensed in New Zealand during 2015.
Per head of population, courses of antibiotics were more commonly dispensed to Pacific and Maori people than to people of European, Asian or other ethnicities.
Lead author Mark Thomas says that’s not surprising as many infectious diseases, for example rheumatic fever, are more common in Pacific and Māori people, who are 50 times more likely to end up in hospital with acute rheumatic fever.
However, as the difference in prescription rates is between one and two times, that means antibiotics commonly prescribed for sore throat are being hugely over-prescribed for European, Asian and other people.
He says a large proportion of the antibiotics dispensed in the community in New Zealand are unnecessary, and all antibiotic use increases the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Dr Thomas says the higher levels of antibiotic dispensing for Pacific and Māori people appear to have contributed to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) becoming a more common cause of staphylococcal infection in Pacific and Māori people than in people of other ethnicities.
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