Public health officials have begun tackling the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, as the prevalence of superbugs, or bacteria resistant to antibiotics, reaches alarming levels worldwide.

A panel of experts under the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on Monday adopted draft guidelines on when doctors should refrain from using antibiotics. These guidelines, soon to be finalized and distributed to clinics and hospitals across the nation, explicitly discourage prescribing antibiotics to treat common colds or acute diarrhea.

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