New superbugs website launched by NUIG

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A new website has been launched by NUI Galway’s Centre for One Health to help educate children about the threat from superbugs.

The website secretlifeofmicrobes.com went live this week as part of initiatives to coincide with the WHO’s World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.

It is designed for 2nd to 6th class pupils at primary schools, and brings together information, resources, games and experiments with informational videos.

“World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a reminder of how much the discovery of antibiotics has helped us all to live longer and healthier lives, but also of how much is at stake if we do not act to safeguard antibiotics,” said Prof Dearbháile Morris, Director of the Ryan Institute Centre for One Health at NUI Galway.

“If we do not have antibiotics that work, certain types of surgery and cancer treatments will become almost impossible to perform safely.”

“We can safeguard antibiotics by making sure we only use them when we need them, by making sure we complete the dose as directed by the doctor, by not sharing antibiotics with others and by making sure we bring back any unused antibiotics to the pharmacy for correct disposal.”

The webinar takes place live on Zoom Friday 20 November from 2.30pm-4pm and registration is free via Eventbrite.

Dr Liam Burke, Lecturer in Bacteriology at NUI Galway, who will be among the speakers said that when a human or animal is given antibiotics, the bacteria inside them can sometimes change their genes in order to survive.

“These resistance genes can be shared to other bacteria, and can be spread to the environment in waste streams such as sewage and slurry,” he explained.

“The global spread of antimicrobial resistance is maybe the best example of a One Health challenge, as it connects the health of humans, the health of animals and that of our shared environment.”