Experts meet to launch Antibiotic Awareness Week in Queensland

13 Nov 2015

The University of Queensland has teamed up with the Queensland Department of Health to bring researchers and clinicians together to take action against antibiotic resistance.

UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience Centre for Superbug Solutions and the Queensland Health Communicable Disease Clinical Network are today hosting a forum on antimicrobial resistance.

The forum will enhance collaboration and develop ideas to ensure Queensland is well-equipped in the fight against the increasing threat of superbugs.

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital infectious diseases expert Dr Krispin Hajkowicz attended the forum, on the eve of World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

“The thought of a world without working antibiotics is terrifying,” Dr Hajkowicz said.

“And sadly, this is a reality in parts of our world, although thankfully not yet in Queensland.

“We’re fortunate there is a lot of work being done to keep our state this way.’’

Experts in antimicrobial resistance from the laboratory bench to the clinical bedside joined the forum at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, with 35 regional and remote sites from across the state participating by video-link.

“Queensland is a national and international leader in the response to antimicrobial resistance,” Dr Hajkowicz said.

“This forum is an important part of the state’s response to this global health problem.”

World Antibiotic Awareness Week starts on Monday (16 November). It is endorsed by the World Health Organisation, with the theme “Preserve the Miracle of Antibiotics”.

The IMB Centre for Superbug Solutions is developing new antibiotics to which bacteria are less likely to become resistant, and improving diagnostics so critically ill patients get the drugs they need in time.

Director Professor Matthew Cooper said bacterial infections killed more than 7000 people a year in Australia alone.

“A recent review on antimicrobial resistance in the UK predicts 10 million excess deaths and economic losses of $US400 billion due to superbugs by 2050 if no action is taken,” he said.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young and Professor Cooper will join Dr Hajkowicz at the National Antimicrobial Resistance National Strategy Forum in Canberra next week.

UQ will host a free documentary screening of the film ‘Resistance’ on Tuesday (17 November). Details and registration here.

Researchers from the IMB Centre for Superbug Solutions will be available to comment throughout Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November).

Media: UQ, Ruth Neale,, 07 3346 2389, 0487 955 790; Department of Health, 07 3234 1439.