A new study has been launched to assess antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in healthy people through stool samples.
Up to 2,000 people across the country will be invited to submit stool samples and nose and throat swabs which scientists will use to understand more about the factors influencing bacteria in the body.
‘By understanding more about the burden of AMR in healthy people in the general population and the factors that mean someone is more likely to be carrying a resistant organism, we will be able to design better ways to tackle AMR in different populations,’ said Dr Russell Hope, deputy director, AMR division at UKHSA.
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The study will look at age, sex, ethnicity and geographical location to understand if there are any key differences between demographics.
It will also look into different risk factors for AMR such as travel, diet, healthcare contact and household transmission.
Health minister, Maria Caulfield said: ‘AMR is a silent killer that costs over a million lives across the world per year.
‘This new study will build the evidence base so we can better understand what causes AMR to help us ramp up our efforts to tackle this deadly issue.’
Dr Hope urged the public to only take antibiotics when they are prescribed and necessary for the condition.
He explained how antibiotic resistance occurs naturally but inappropriate usage and overuse of antibiotics can accelerate the process.
‘Please trust your healthcare professional and take antibiotics only as prescribed, never share with others and don’t save for later. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your loved ones at risk of having an untreatable infection in future.’