Australians are dying from superbugs or antibiotic resistant bacteria due to overuse of antibiotics. The risk of infection may make it difficult for doctors to perform hip replacements or treat leukemia in the coming years.

According to experts in infectious diseases, doctors continue to encounter infections which cannot be treated for the first time since the invention of antibiotics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the world may be entering a post-antibiotic era. The so-called "wonder drugs" may no longer be useful in eliminating superbugs.

WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan said something as simple as a grazed knee can become a risky infection. According to Australian National University Professor Peter Collignon, who is also a microbiology expert, said a "positive death spiral" be caused by the overuse of antibiotics on humans and animals.

Professor Collignon said many people in Australia are already dying and the number could be thousands. He said something must be done to stop the spread of superbugs since the cases of deaths could multiply tenfold.

In New Zealand, a man has died from antibiotic resistant bacteria. At 68 years old, Brian Pool is believed to be the first victim of the superbug in New Zealand.

While Mr Pool was in Vietnam last January, he had a stroke and undergone surgery. He was flown to the hospital in Wellington where doctors discovered he was carrying a strain of bacterium resistant to antiobiotics known as Klebsieall Pneumoniae.

The hospital placed Mr Pool under quarantine for six months. He died in July due to health complications after a stroke.

According to clinical microbiologist Mark Jones, he had never seen a more resistant bacterium in his life. Dr Jones said the hospital had to impose strict isolation rules to prevent it from spreading. If the superbug had somehow spread, he said the impact to the community would be devastating.

Mr Collignon said half the people who travel abroad are infected with superbugs. These bacteria can be deadly once they enter the human bloodstream. In the Medical Journal of Australia, infectious diseases experts urge the Australian Centre for Disease Control to address the national health crisis.