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Government campaign to tackle antibiotic resistance

The government has launched a campaign to remind doctors and nurses of the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Government ministers wish to make it clear that antibiotics should not be prescribed to get rid of the common cold.

Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson said: “Antibiotic resistance is becoming more common and in recent years fewer new antibiotics have been discovered.

“Antibiotics treat bacterial infections but all colds and most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses so cannot be cured with antibiotics.”

Patients often request antibiotics but the government say the more they are used, the more likely it is that bacteria will become resistant.

Posters and leaflets advertising careful antibiotic use are to be placed in GP's surgeries and pharmacies.

Liam Donaldson added: “The more we take antibiotics when they are not necessary, the more bacteria will become resistant to them. We must all play a part in conserving antibiotics as a valuable clinical resource. Patients can take other remedies to help relieve the symptoms of a cough or cold.”

Department of Health