Britain to push G8 for action against 'superbugs'

Britain will urge the G8 to coordinate plans to prevent a spread of drug-resistant microbes, which it fears could cause a public health crisis, the government said Tuesday.

Science Minister David Willetts said Britain would call for a joint clamp down on the over-prescription of antibiotics and for cross-border cooperation in fighting the spread of bacterial diseases at next week's in Northern Ireland.

"Across the G8, we should regard the spread of antibiotic resistance as a global challenge that is up there with climate change, water stress and environmental damage, and there are genuine policy consequences that follow from that," Willetts told the Guardian.

He is hoping to forge agreements over the use of antibiotics on farms and strengthen international monitoring of emerging resistant strains.

Leaders of the world's richest economies including US and Russian presidents and are due to meet at the Lough Erne luxury golf resort in Northern Ireland on June 17-18.

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