AURA 2017: Second Australian Report on Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Human Health

Megan Reilly

On 3 August 2017 the Commission released AURA 2017: Second Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health. This report provides a comprehensive of the picture of antimicrobial use, resistance and the appropriateness of prescribing in Australia across all healthcare settings.

The report contains a range of important findings on antimicrobial resistance and highlights a number of areas for action to help reduce antimicrobial resistance, including reducing unnecessary prescribing in the community, actions to control carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae, monitoring resistant gonococcal infections, minimising the spread of vancomycin-resistant enterococci,and improving the appropriateness of antimicrobial use for surgical prophylaxis.

Some of the key findings include:

  • In 2015, 44.7% of the Australian population (10.7 million people) had at least one antimicrobial dispensed in the community
  • More than 30 million antimicrobial prescriptions were dispensed through the PBS/RPBS in 2015
  • On any given day in an Australian hospital in 2015, 40.5% of patients were being administered an antimicrobial; of these, 23.3% of antimicrobial prescriptions were not compliant with guidelines, and 21.9% were considered inappropriate
  • In 2015, 40.5% of surgical prophylaxis in hospitals was inappropriate, mainly because of incorrect duration (29.9%); incorrect dose or frequency (27.6%); or the procedure did not require antibiotics (22.0%)
  • Colds and flu are viral respiratory infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics, but antibiotics are frequently prescribed for these conditions often with no documentation of the reason for the prescription
  • There are concerning levels of use of antimicrobials in aged care homes for residents who do not have documented signs and symptoms of infection, and there is poor documentation of the indication of antibiotics and a review or stop date
  • Antimicrobial resistances require focused infection control effort in hospitals to reduce their spread.