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SILLY PILLY; EXCLUSIVE Parents put children at risk by feeding them antibiotics.

Byline: By DARREN BOYLE

PILL-popping parents are increasing their children's risk of catching the MRSA superbug by feeding them unnecessary antibiotics.

A new study by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has shown that antibiotic consumption has rocketed in recent years.

Longford people take more antibiotics than anyone else - double the rate of Clare and Kilkenny.

The study showed that 30 Longford people out of every 1,000 are knocking back antibiotics on a daily basis.

Dr Robert Cunney, consultant microbiologist with the HPSC, said high levels of antibiotic use will lead to more cases of MRSA.

He added: "The more antibiotics are prescribed, the more resistant bacteria we will see. We have known about this for the past 50 years.

"We can see in Scandinavia that they have low levels of antibiotic use and low levels of antibiotic resistance. They also tend to use the older drugs."

"We are using antibiotics at levels that are not sustainable."

He said new rules were needed about antibiotics in hospitals, general practice and among vets to prevent the spread of killer bacteria.

Dr Cunney added that older drugs such as penicillin are very effective when used correctly.

And he said GPs needed to have greater access to diagnostic facilities.

In Ireland, if a child presents with a high temperature, they will be pumped full of drugs in case of meningitis but in Northern Europe doctors wait for further symptoms.

And Dr Cunney told the Irish Daily Mirror that patients had certain beliefs and perceptions that they needed drugs for every ailment.

He said the HPSC was launching a major campaign to alert GPs about the dangers of prescribing too many antibiotics.

"There are a significant proportion of patients who expect to get antibiotics when they visit the doctor.

"There is a certain amount of learned behaviour that when someone goes to see the doctor they need a prescription."

news@irishmirror.ie

CAPTION(S):

POISON: Too many antibiotics
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2006
Words:324
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