Our time with antibiotics is running out

15 November 2017

According to the World Health Organization antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. Without urgent action, we are heading for a future in which infections and minor injuries could once again kill. World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a global, multi-year campaign, initiated by WHO, to put AMR in the spotlight.

This year’s theme of the ongoing World Antibiotic Awareness week is: Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics. WHO states that antibiotics are a precious resource, so it is important to get the right advice before taking them. This not only ensures you and your family get the best treatment, responsible use of antibiotics will also help reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others. It is the bacteria itself, not humans or animals, that become antibiotic-resistant. Bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”.

Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery become very high risk. Antibiotic resistance also increases the cost of health care with lengthier stays in hospitals and more intensive care required. It also leads to increased mortality.

Effective infection protection is therefore one of the cornerstone of safe, effective high-quality health care. Every infection prevented is an antibiotic treatment avoided.

The goals of the World Antibiotic Awareness Week are to make antibiotic resistance a globally recognized health issue and to raise awareness of the need to preserve the power of antibiotics through appropriate use. But also, to increase the recognition that individuals, health and agriculture professionals, and governments must all play a role in tackling antibiotic resistance, and finally to encourage behaviour change and convey the message that simple actions can make a difference.

In connection with World Antibiotic Awareness Week, WHO has created an interactive game where to learn more about antibiotic resistance and how to prevent it, as well as quiz: “How much do you know about antibiotic resistance”.

Read more: http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-antibiotic-awareness-week/en/

Source: The World Health Organization (WHO) www.who.int/campaigns/world-antibiotic-awareness-week/en/