What about Bioterrorism & Antimicrobial Resistance?
With growing concern about bioterrorism and the risk of biological attacks since September 11th 2001 and the recent Gulf War, questions are being asked about our preparedness for such an event. Following the anthrax attacks in the US in 2001 there was concern about consumers getting hold of and keeping stocks of antibiotics in their homes to use in case they felt they were at risk of infection. See the following Washington Post article and letter to patients from the American College of Physicians for more information. But what are the risks associated with stockpiling antibiotics? There is an interview with the president of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics on their website about these risks.
In summary, it is not recommended that consumers store antibiotics in case of biological attack due to the risks associated with the development of antimicrobial resistance and the potential risks of inappropriate use of antimicrobials. If a biological attack occurs or is threatened, appropriate steps will be taken by the Government concerned.
Date of Posting: 23/01/2003
Date of next Review: 13/01/2005
Bioterrorism; Biological Warfare