HEALTH officials have signed up to join the fight against one of the biggest threats to public health.

NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has pledged to become an Antibiotic Guardian, to help protect against the growing danger of global antimicrobial resistance.

The campaign, led by Public Health England (PHE), urges members of the public and healthcare professionals to take action in helping to slow antimicrobial resistance to ensure that they work now and in the future.

Dr Ian Davidson, medical director and GP, NHS County Durham CCG, said: “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats facing us today.

“Antibiotics, antifungals, antimalarial and anti-retrovirals, which are collectively known as antimicrobials, treat infections by killing bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, but we are now seeing an increasing number of these microbes that are able to resist the effects of antimicrobials.

“If people take antibiotics when they don’t really need them it puts them and their family at risk of developing infections which cannot be easily treated with antibiotics in the future.”

NHS County Durham CCG is also throwing its support behind World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) (18-24 November) and European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November) which aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and encourage best practices among the public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the spread of drug-resistant infections.

“There are some simple steps that we would encourage people to take to help us keep antibiotics working,” added Dr Davidson.

“Take your healthcare professionals’ advice on whether you need antibiotics, and take them exactly as prescribed, never save them for later and never share them with others and talk to friends and family about antibiotic resistance – also remember that COVID, flu and other viruses do not respond to antibiotics.

“Without effective antimicrobials many routine health care treatments could become increasingly dangerous, therefore it is incredibly important that we all start now and work together to stop the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.”