Press Release

Award recognises Dundee healthcare expert

Published on 10 October 2019

Growing human resistance to antibioticsis already costing lives, a leading infection prevention expert has warned

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Portrait of Dr Emma Burnett standing outside

Dr Emma Burnett believes that more must be done to educate the wider public about the inappropriate use of antibiotics and the threat posed to our way of life by antimicrobial resistance, referred to widely as AMR.

Dr Burnett made the warning having been named as the recipient of the Infection Prevention Society’s Brendan Moore Award, a global honour presented to an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution to the society in helping to improve awareness of the issue and inform practice aimed at ensuring no person is harmed by a preventable infection.

“We have a massive worldwide challenge with antimicrobial resistance,” she said.

“It is growing and evolving and we are no longer able to treat infections with the antibiotics that we have. They are running out and there are no new antibiotics. People are suffering and dying from infections that previously would have been treated by antibiotics.

“That’s why infection prevention is key. If we can prevent infection in the first place then we can reduce our reliance on antibiotics.”

Working as an IPC specialist for more than 12 years while in clinical practice, Dr Burnett is responsible for IPC education at pre-registration and post-qualifying level at Dundee and has developed and delivered IPC programmes internationally.

A former Director and Board Member of the Infection Prevention Society, she said that her knowledge and experience has helped shape infection prevention education at the University.

“I am very humbled and overwhelmed to receive this honour,” she added.

“The IPS has thousands of members, many of which do incredible work around the world. To receive this award has a lot to do with what I have learned from them.

“Here at the University of Dundee we are unique because we have a team of infection prevention experts within our School of Nursing. This means that infection prevention control is embedded throughout our curriculum so by the time they graduate they are ready to deal with this challenge. We also offer a degree top up and a Masters in Infection Prevention Control, all of which highlight our commitment to addressing this crucial issue.”

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