Today Is Antibiotic Awareness Day!

Today marks the third annual Antibiotic Awareness Day, a global initiative raising awareness for the threat antibiotic resistance places on public health.  Countries all over the world are participating and holding events to promote awareness for this worldwide problem. In support of today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched its Get Smart About Antibiotics Week to highlight the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem that affects everyone. As it becomes an increasingly serious threat to public health, global campaigns such as today’s Antibiotic Awareness Day are key in building awareness for the responsible use of antibiotics. Policymakers, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, physicians, and patients all play a key role in keeping antibiotics effective. Two days ago, I attended a small antibiotic resistance open forum at the University of British Columbia. As I sat there and listened to guest speaker Dr. Linda Hoang from the BC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the statistics she used were staggering:

  • 50% of antibiotics prescribed by physicians to patients are unnecessary1,2
  • Antibiotic resistance has become one of the top three greatest threats to human health3
  • Each year, multidrug resistant bacteria add $20 billion in excess costs to the US healthcare system3
  • 60,000 patients die each year in the US because of antibiotic resistant infections4

These numbers establish the magnitude of this global problem. Today marks a worldwide initiative that will promote appropriate antibiotic use and bring awareness to antibiotic resistance. Events in support of Antibiotic Awareness Day are happening all over the world.  To watch online webinars discussing resistance in communities, go to http://antibioticawareness.ca/. To learn how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance, visit out our earlier blog posts on Higher Learning For Bacteria.

1. Davey P, Brown E, Fenelon L, Finch R, Gould I, Hartman G, et al. Interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing practices for hospital inpatients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005(4):CD003543.

2. Willemsen I, Groenhuijzen A, Bogaers D, Stuurman A, van Keulen P, Kluytmans J. Appropriateness of antimicrobial therapy measured by repeated prevalence surveys. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Mar;51(3):864-7.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Get Smart Campaign

4. Food & Drug Administration. Battle of the Bugs: Fighting Antibiotic Resistance 2009

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