World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016

World Antibiotic Awareness Week (14-20 November) aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance

Some 25,000 people die each year across Europe from infections that are resistant to antibiotics and it is 30 years since a new class of antibiotics was introduced, despite the growing numbers of infections that are resistant. 

Antibiotic resistance has been classed as one of the greatest threats facing the world today. The Chief Medical Officer for England, professor Dame Sally Davies, has described the threat of antimicrobial resistance as ‘catastrophic’ and has warned that there is the real possibility that people admitted to hospital in 20 years time for minor surgery would be at risk of death from an ordinary infection that would no longer respond to antibiotics.

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.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and looks to encourage people to better use antibiotics to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Speaking on the campaign, Mbiye Mpenge, consultant medical microbiologist at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, said: “Antibiotic resistance has been classed as one of the greatest threats facing the world today. 

“The rise of  antibiotic resistance is extremely concerning. If we continue to use antibiotics at the current rate, Europe could face a return to the pre-antibiotic era when common bacterial infections would be a challenge to treat. If left unchecked, the current trend in rising antibiotic resistance could lead to a global crisis.  

“Any use of antibiotics contributes to the development of resistance, but widespread unnecessary and excessive use makes it worse. This is why antibiotics must be treated as a precious resource that should only be used when needed.  

“By using antibiotics responsibility, we can reduce resistance and decrease the spread of infection. This will help ensure that we can preserve the antibiotics that we have now for better use in the future.”

What can I do?

There are a number of things you can do to help protect the use of antibiotics.

  • Always consider alternatives to antibiotics and to ask a pharmacist about over the counter remedies that can help in the first instance. 
  • Make sure to take antibiotics exactly as prescribed, never save them for future use, never share them with others. 
  • More tips on what you can do to help tackle antibiotic resistance can be found here
  • You can make a personal pledge to use antibiotics wisely and sign up to be an antibiotic guardian at 

Still not sure why antibiotic resistance such a concern? This short film proves the answer.

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