WHO Launches World Antibiotics Awareness Week-6485

November 16th, 2015
WHO Launches World Antibiotics Awareness Week-6485

November 17th-22nd is World Antibiotics Awareness week, during which the World Health Organisation aims to spread awareness of antibiotic resistance, one of today’s biggest threats to global health. Although antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans does accelerate the process.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria become resistant to antibiotic medication used to treat the infections they cause. The causes of antibiotic resistance include:

  • Poor sanitation and lack of hygiene
  • Over-use of antibiotics in fish farming and livestock
  • Patients failing to finish their course of treatment
  • Over-prescription of antibiotics
  • Poor infection control in clinics and hospitals
  • Lack of new antibiotics being developed

Today, the first World Antibiotic Awareness Week kicked off. This week aims to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and encourage the best practice for using antibiotics to prolong their effectiveness. As well as targeting individuals, the campaign is also aimed at agricultural and health professionals and governments around the world.

The WHO’s resources include information about several countries’ experiences with regards to antibiotic resistance, educational infographics, fact sheets and a new international survey that highlights some of the misconceptions, gaps in understanding and practices that contribute to misuse and overuse of antibiotics.

Of the 10,000 people surveyed across 12 countries, up to two thirds said they know antibiotic resistance is a problem that could affect them or their families, but lack understanding about how it does affect them or how they should address it. More than 70% said farmers should provide fewer antibiotics to animals that produce food, with China showing the highest proportion of any of the countries surveyed.

As part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the World Organisation for Animal Health made numerous education tools on antimicrobial resistance available on its website. These tools promote the best practices for using antibiotics on animals and include an infographic that explains what is required from each country to make sure the prudent and responsible use of antibiotics within its region.

The ECDC (European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control) has coordinated the European Antibiotic Awareness Day each year on 18th of November since 2008. This year it has joined with the WHO on this week-long campaign.


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