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New drive to stop overuse of antibiotics

NEW multi-resistant bugs are emerging due to the overuse of antibiotics, it has been warned.

The Health Service Executive has set up an information campaign to prevent people from dosing up on antibiotics when they are suffering a cold or flu.

A new website, called undertheweather.ie, has been set up to give advice on how to treat viral infections. Rest, fluid and paracetamol is all that's needed to get over many viral illnesses, the HSE said.

Dr Philip Crowley, HSE National Director for Quality and Patient Safety, said that the fight against superbugs is being hindered by overuse of antibiotics.

"Antibiotics are becoming less and less effective," he said. "An antibiotic is useless in dealing with illnesses caused by a common virus.

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"We want to support people to know what to do when they are unwell, and when to get advice from a health professional, but also that antibiotics are almost never the answer when it comes to these common complaints."

Meanwhile, a strain of bird flu has been identified in a duck farm in the UK for the first time since 2008.

The UK Department for Environment said the risk to public health was very low but the poultry is being culled at the farm in East Yorkshire.

On Sunday, an outbreak of bird flu was discovered at a poultry farm in the Netherlands. The Dutch temporarily banned the transport of poultry and eggs.

hnews@herald.ie


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