In the United States, the CDC promotes it as Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, while globally, the World Health Organization leads the charge with World Antibiotic Awareness Week. They, along with many other local organizations, are working to promote the sane, safe, and sustainable use of antibiotics year round, but most publically this week (Nov 14th - 20th).
While pandemics and outbreaks of novel diseases like avian flu, MERS, and Zika make the immediate headlines, in terms of long-to-medium term threats, there is little that can match the potential harm from the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria around the globe.
It's a threat that has prompted both CDC Director Thomas Frieden and WHO Director General Margaret Chan to warn that the world faces a `post-antibiotic' era. One where even simple infections could one day become untreatable.
It was just 1 year ago we saw the discovery of yet another resistance gene called MCR-1 announced in China. One which can be transferred laterally via plasmids to other bacterial species (see MCR-1: The Return Of The Plasmids).
Since then, MCR-1 has been found to exist globally, and joins the growing ranks of antimicrobial resistant organisms (MRSA, CRE, NDM-1, etc.) that threaten to overwhelm our dwindling arsenal of effective antibiotics.
While the unbridled use of antibiotics in agriculture, and unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics by doctors are both major contributors to the crisis, so too is the misuse of antibiotics by the public – particularly in countries where many of these drugs are available over-the-counter, and without physician supervision.
This from the World Health Organization.
World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016
14-20 November 2016
Antibiotics: Handle with care
World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
A global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines was endorsed at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015. One of the key objectives of the plan is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.
The theme of the campaign, Antibiotics: Handle with Care, reflects the overarching message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved. They should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by a certified human or animal health professional. Antibiotics should never be shared or saved for the future.
WHO is encouraging all Member States, health partners and students, and the public to join this campaign and help raise awareness of antibiotic resistance. A variety of resources are available to support local campaigns and a number of additional materials will be made available in the lead up to the week.
For further information:
For some recent blogs on this topic, you may wish to revisit: