As no one will have missed, many of our staff have been heavily involved in the Ebola response, at home and in West Africa for many months now, and this week we have moved up another gear, following developments in the US and Spain. As well as bolstering up our systems to ensure the UK is ready to detect, manage and treat a case in a returning traveller or healthcare worker, we have staff serving on the front line in Sierra Leone, providing expert advice, support and guidance, particularly on strategic management and infection control in the field hospitals, while a rotating group of research staff are supporting the European Mobile Labs in Guinea and Liberia.
Antibiotics are one of the most effective defences in helping us combat a range of serious infections. They transformed survival rates in diseases such as bacterial pneumonia which were often fatal and, unsurprisingly, came to be regarded as a universal panacea. The pressure on GPs to prescribe antibiotics has been immense, as can be seen in the first annual report from our English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR), published today.