Antibiotic Resistance: An Increasing Threat To Human Health. Why All Of Us Should Join The World Antibiotic Awareness Week

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the US, 2019, showing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year. In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died. 
Dedicated prevention and infection control efforts in the U.S. are working to reduce the number of infections and deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant germs, but the number of people facing antibiotic resistance is still too high. More action is needed to fully protect people.CDC is concerned about rising resistant infections in the community, which can put more people at risk, make spread more difficult to identify and contain, and threaten the progress made to protect patients in healthcare. The emergence and spread of new forms of resistance remains a concern.
The report lists 18 antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi into three categories based on level of concern to human health—urgent, serious, and concerning—and highlights:

  • Estimated infections and deaths since the 2013 report
  • Aggressive actions taken
  • Gaps slowing progress

The report also includes a Watch List with three threats that have not spread resistance widely in the U.S. but could become common without a continued aggressive approach.


Each November, World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase global awareness of 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. 
Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as the cornerstone of modern medicine. However, the persistent overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health have encouraged the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, which occurs when microbes, such as bacteria, become resistant to the drugs used to treat them.
World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019 coincides with:

Global Alliance for Infections in Surgery participates in the World Antibiotic Awareness Week launching a campaign named “Be aware” aimed at using appropriately antibiotics across ther surgical pathway.

Antibiotics have well-known benefits when used appropriately. However, it has been estimated that up to 50 percent of the antibiotic usage in hospitals is inappropriate.
Clinicians regularly have to make complex decisions about antibiotic use. On one hand clinicians should offer optimal therapy for the individual patient under their care; on the other hand they should limit the impact of the antibiotic in order to prevent the selection of resistant pathogens and pathogenic bacteria such as C. difficile.
Not surprisingly, they may be confused by conflicting messages about how the risk for antibiotics overuse can influence their prescribing and how their prescribing can influence the risk for antibiotics overuse. Furthermore, because medical professionals have already established their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, it is difficult to change their deeply established views and practice patterns.
Significant data support the importance of antibiotic prescribing practices. Antibiotic prescribing practices may influence the outcome and cost of treatment as well as the risk of some emerging infections (such as C. difficile) and resistant pathogens in the individual patient and the broader environment. Components of antibiotic prescribing practices include:

  • Prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections
  • Avoidance of unnecessary antibiotic(s)
  • Adequacy of the antibiotic(s)
  • Timing of antibiotic(s) administration
  • Dosing of antibiotic(s)
  • Reassessment of antibiotic therapy,
  • Length of antibiotic treatment

 A growing body of evidence demonstrates that hospital based interventions dedicated to improving antibiotic use, commonly referred to as “Antibiotic Stewardship programs” (ASPs), can both optimize the treatment of infections and reduce adverse events associated with antibiotic use.
ASPs incorporate a variety of strategies to optimize antibiotic use in the hospital. Despite currently ASPs are advocated and discussed by national and international organizations, ASPs coverage remains limited to only certain hospitals as well as specific service lines within hospitals.
Improving antimicrobial stewardship in today’s hospitals worldwide requires a systematic approach to prescribe antibiotics appropriately and to prevent healthcare-associated infections. The two go hand-in-hand. it is important that all helthcare workers depend on evidence-based infection and control interventions to reduce demand for antibiotic agents by preventing healthcare-associated infections from occurring in the first place, and making every effort to prevent transmission when they occur. The issues surrounding infection prevention and control are intrinsically linked with the issues associated with the use of antibiotic agents and the proliferation and spread of antimicrobial resistance. The vital work of the infection prevention and control and of the antimicrobial stewardship cannot be performed independently and requires interdependent and coordinated action across multiple and overlapping disciplines and clinical settings.
The preferable means of improving antimicrobial stewardship is to involve a comprehensive program that incorporates collaboration among various specialties within a healthcare institution. In this context, the direct involvement of prescribers in the ASPs can be highly impactful.
Many antimicrobial stewardship strategies have been shown to be effective. ASPs should select interventions based on local antimicrobial utilization patterns, available resources, and expertise.
Multifaceted interventions are more likely to improve antibiotic prescribing practices than simple, passive interventions. Although didactic educational programs alone are generally ineffective, education and awareness are important in implementing antibiotic prescribing practices among prescribers.
Education of all health professionals should begin at undergraduate level and be consolidated with further training throughout the postgraduate years. Hospitals are responsible for educating clinical staff about both infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship. Active education techniques, such as academic detailing, consensus building sessions and educational workshops, should be implemented in each hospital  worldwide according to its own resources.
Efforts to improve education and to raise awareness of the correct use of antibiotics are strongly required at all levels. The direct involvement of  all prescribers may be a way to fight the behaviours that block them in this process.


Be Aware of your role


Below you can find a link to access a recent video by Ramanan Laxminarayan. Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) founder, Ramanan Laxminarayan is a resistance fighter. Listen as he shares CDDEP’s efforts and his personal commitment to combat antimicrobial resistance.



Let’s get flu vaccine

Healthcare workers are at higher risk of influenza infection than the general population. In addition to morbidity among healthcare workers, influenza infection may also lead to disruption of medical services. Moreover, influenza infecting health workers may contribute to nosocomial transmission of infection to their patients, including those at high risk for developing severe influenza disease and complications. Hence, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and many other organizations consider healthcare workers to be a priority target group for seasonal influenza vaccination. In addition, influenza vaccination of health workers contributes to inf luenza pan-demic preparedness. Finally, studies have shown that healthworkers who are vaccinated against influenza themselves are more likely to recommend vaccination to their patients.


It is our intent to raise awareness amongst healthcare workers and to improve prevention and management of infections across the surgical pathway worldwide.


Download the definitive program

What clinicians should know about antibiotic resistance and its mechanisms