November 13, 2017

Welcome to World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2017!

It's World Antibiotic Awareness Week! This year's theme: Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics. So how much do you know about antibiotics and its attendant problems? Don't worry, this page has all you need to know about antibiotics, its safe use and other important issues.

During World Antibiotic Awareness week, 13-19 November 2017, WHO and partners will reach out to the general public, health professionals, governments, farmers, veterinarians, the food and feed industry and others via a social media campaign using infographics, quizzes, and success stories to raise awareness of the need to act on antibiotic resistance and what kinds of steps we can take. Antibiotic resistance is a serious global threat: every year, at least 700,000 people around the world die from infections with superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics – and this is predicted to rise to 10 million by 2050.

In the lead-up to World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are together calling for responsible use of antibiotics in humans and animals to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world and threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. Infections affecting people – including pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea – and animals alike are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.

Antibiotics are often overprescribed by physicians and veterinarians and overused by the public. Where they can be bought for human or animal use without a prescription, the emergence and spread of resistance is made worse. Examples of misuse include taking antibiotics for viral infections like colds and flu, and using them as animal growth promoters on farms or in aquaculture.

Tackling the issues

To tackle these problems, WHO, FAO and OIE are leveraging their expertise and working together in a ‘One Health’ approach to promote best practices to reduce the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes in both humans and animals.

“Antibiotic resistance is a global crisis that we cannot ignore,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “If we don’t tackle this threat with strong, coordinated action, antimicrobial resistance will take us back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery."

“The overuse of antimicrobials blunts their effectiveness, and we must reduce their misuse in food systems,” says José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO. “Antimicrobial veterinary medicines are a crucial tool for animal health and welfare and safe food production, but they are by no means the only tool.”

“Like in human health, veterinary medicine has tremendously progressed thanks to antibiotics. Preserving their efficacy and availability through their responsible use associated with good husbandry and prevention practices, is therefore essential to preserve animal health and welfare,” highlights Dr Monique Eloit, Director-General of OIE.

To Learn More, see:
Antibiotic resistance
What You Need to Know About Antibiotic and Antimicrobial Resistance

To Learn More and Get Involved:
Interactive platform: Learn how to handle antibiotics with care
How much do you know? Take a quiz
Video: Antibiotics - Handle with care
Animated GIFs and JPGs for social media

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