CDC Celebrates Annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, November 14-20, 2016


Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics and it poses one of the most pressing public health threats.

The CDC, along with a league of national and international partners, will observe the 9th annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week from November 14 to 20. During this week, participants will raise awareness about the threat of antibiotic resistance and emphasize the importance of appropriate antibiotic use across all healthcare settings.

Antibiotic use is the single most important contributing factor to antibiotic resistance, and up to one-third to one-half of antibiotic use in humans is either unnecessary or inappropriate. Each year in the United States, 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are written in doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and hospital-based clinics, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority. To combat antibiotic resistance and avoid adverse drug reactions, we have to use antibiotics appropriately. This means using antibiotics only when needed and, if needed, using them correctly.

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week 2016 marks an important year, during which Congress allocated $160 million in new funding for the CDC to implement its activities listed in the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. The CDC is using this funding to accelerate outbreak detection and prevention, support innovative research, and inform providers and the general public about antibiotic resistance and appropriate antibiotic use. The CDC is also working to improve tracking of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance.

“Antibiotics are critical adjuncts to modern medicine, are vital to performing effective surgical procedures, and provide medical treatment for a variety of serious illnesses,” said Lauri Hicks, DO, director for the CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship. “Alarmingly, we are facing the end of the antibiotic era because antibiotics are beinginappropriately prescribed and used, which contributes to antibiotic resistance. It is crucial that antibiotics are used only when absolutely necessary.”

Moreover, she said, when antibiotics are needed for urgent and necessary conditions like sepsis, it is crucial that the correct antibiotic be prescribed in a timely manner at the right doseand duration.

The Get Smart About Antibiotics Week 2016 observance marks the second annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which coincides with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Canadian Antibiotic Awareness Week, and other similar observances across the world.

For additional information about Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, please visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.
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