Press Releases

LA warns against overuse of antibiotics

The Associated Press
Friday December 21, 2001

LOS ANGELES — People who stockpiled drugs to protect themselves from the anthrax bacteria were warned Wednesday about a serious health threat if they take the antibiotics inappropriately during the flu season. 

“Antibiotics are not effective against viruses,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, in a statement issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. 

The agency said antibiotics can successfully help fight infections caused by bacteria. But in recent years, researchers have found that nearly all bacterial infections in the United States have become resistant to at least one antibiotic by overuse because it allows the bacteria to survive and change after a course of treatment. 

Health officials worry that people who have several months worth of Cipro or another antibiotic will feel a need to use them before they expire. 

“We’re most concerned that folks will take them for the flu because we know the demand for antibiotics is higher when a patient has the flu,” Fielding said.