Antibiotic Awareness Week

World Antibiotic Awareness Week will occur from 18 - 24 November 2019. It aims to draw attention to the effective use of antibiotics (a type of antimicrobial) in preventing and containing antimicrobial resistance.


What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a micro-organism (such as bacteria) to stop an antibiotic from working effectively. Whilst antibiotics have the potential to treat infections, use of antibiotics can also contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Why is antibiotic resistance such a major concern?

Antibiotics are lifesaving medications, but only if they work against the organism causing infection. Antimicrobial resistance may impact on life saving health care, such as cancer treatments or organ transplants, as antibiotics will not be effective to prevent infections that are commonly associated with these procedures. Antimicrobial resistance is already affecting the care of patients now and current trends indicate this will have an increasing impact over time.

The World Health Organisation has described antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to human and animal health, as well as food and agriculture.

Why is the correct use of antibiotics important?

Unlike other medications, the development of antibiotic resistance from the over use of antibiotics can affect not only the patient needing treatment now, but also future patients and the wider community. Antibiotic use inevitably leads to resistance, but overuse of antibiotics has accelerated this process. Some antibiotics are no longer able to be used to treat infections.

It is important to take antibiotics as prescribed by doctors and not to pressure doctors for antibiotics if they feel they won’t help your situation. Saving antibiotic prescriptions for later or taking someone else’s can mean you aren’t getting the right antibiotic at the right dose for your needs.

Can’t we just develop new, stronger antibiotics?

The development of new antibiotics is challenging, expensive, and takes a long time to deliver to market.  Because of this, the number of new antibiotics has been decreasing over time.

What can be done now?

We must ensure that antibiotics are only taken when they are absolutely needed, in the most appropriate way for the shortest period of time. It is an issue that demands action on every level, from individuals, governments and major organisations around the world. Without urgent action, infections and minor injuries could once again become fatal.

Download resources for Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019

Key Messages for Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019

  • Antibiotics are a precious resource that could be lost.
  • Antibiotic resistance is happening now – it is a worldwide problem that affects human and animal health.
  • Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria stops an antibiotic from working effectively – meaning some infections may be impossible to treat.
  • Few new antibiotics are being developed to help solve this problem.
  • Misuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance.
  • Whenever antibiotics must be used, they must be used with care.

Join the conversation - follow the Commission on Twitter @ACSQHC 

Many clinicians and organisations participate in Twitter discussions during Antibiotic Awareness Week to learn more about the importance of safe and appropriate antibiotic use in addressing the problem of antibiotic resistance and improving patient care.

An annual global Twitter chat is coordinated by the European Centre for Disease and Prevention and Control. To keep up to date on the global chat and on topics relevant to Antibiotic Awareness Week, follow the Commission on Twitter @ACSQHC.

Other useful Twitter accounts to follow include:

@healthgovau @SAHealth @CRE_REDUCE
@qldhealthnews @WAHealth @SAAGAR
@NSWHealth @NTGovHealth @NPSMedicineWise
@ACTHealth @NSWCEC @the_shpa
@VICGovDHHS @SaferCareVic  
@TasmaniaHealth @NCAS_Aus  

Australia’s response to Antimicrobial Resistance – A National Strategy

Antimicrobial resistance involves a complex interplay of environmental, clinical and behavioural factors in humans, animals and agriculture. To achieve real progress, Australia’s response needs to be integrated across all these sectors.

In June 2015, the Australian Government released the first National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy to guide the response to the threat of antibiotic misuse and resistance. The strategy focuses on measures to prevent antibiotic resistance as well as decrease inappropriate use of antibiotics across all sectors where antibiotics are used.  

Watch Professor John Turnidge explain the causes and dangers of antimicrobial resistance, inappropriate antimicrobial usage, and what the Commission is doing about it.

Antimicrobial stewardship resources

Visit the Commission's AMS web page for more information about antimicrobial stewardship and more resources.

The Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard

The Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Clinical Care Standard aims to ensure that a patient with a bacterial infection receives optimal treatment with antibiotics - the right antibiotic to treat their condition, the right dose, by the right route, at the right time and for the right duration based on accurate assessment and timely review.

Antibiotic Awareness Week Contact