Fewer prescriptions for strong antibiotics written on P.E.I.

Antibiotic awareness initiatives on P.E.I. appear to be working, says the province's medical microbiologist and infectious disease consultant.

Cases of MRSA and C. Difficile falling

Islanders are using fewer strong antibiotics. (CBC)

Antibiotic awareness initiatives on P.E.I. appear to be working, says the province's medical microbiologist and infectious disease consultant.

Dr. Greg German said over the last few years the number of prescriptions of strong antibiotics has dropped in the province.

MRSA infections are down on the Island, says Dr. Greg German. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

This week is antibiotics awareness week. When antibiotics are overused they lose their effectiveness, a worldwide problem that puts people at risk of infections that are more difficult to treat, such as C. Difficile and MRSA.

"Our antibiotic use of things like ciprofloxacin ... have decreased while antibiotics like nitrofurantoin, which are used for treating urine infections and it's much lighter therapy, that antibiotic is increasing appropriately," German said.

"We are making strides in that area and I think that has something to do with a smaller amount of C Diff cases that we're seeing on the Island, with about a 30 per cent reduction, as well as a smaller amount of MRSA."

Department of Health numbers show ciprofloxacin prescriptions in the community were down 13 per cent between 2013 and 2016, while nitrofurantoin prescriptions were up 26 per cent.

There is still work to be done, German said, but he's pleased with P.E.I.'s progress.

With files from Sarah MacMillan