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Are You Antibiotic Aware? The U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24, 2019

The US Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is set to take place during the week of November 18 to 24 this year and coincide with similar events in Canada, Australia, Europe and one organized by the World Health Organization.

Antibiotics are an important resource for saving lives, making their appropriate use a critical issue in healthcare.  According to data from the CDC, at least 30% of antibiotics prescribed in the outpatient setting is considered unnecessary.  Similarly, at least 20% of antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately in the acute care settings and as high as 75% of antibiotics prescribed in long-term care facilities may be inappropriate.

While antibiotics are essential for treatment in bacterial infections, they are not entirely without harms.  According to one study, >140,000 emergency department (ED) visits annually were due to outpatient antibiotic therapy, with allergic reactions being the most common reasons for these ED visits.  Another study found that antibiotic is the number one cause of ED visits due to adverse reactions in children and adolescents.  In addition, use of antibiotics, whether appropriate and inappropriate, can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance and Clostridioides difficile infections.

The USAAW is an annual observance organized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is a partnership between the CDC, state-based programs (such as Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Healthcare-Associated/Antibiotic Resistance Team) as well as non-profit and for-profit partners.  The goal of this national observance is to improve the way healthcare providers prescribe antibiotics and the way healthcare consumers use antibiotics so that maximum clinical outcomes can be achieved while minimizing untoward effects of antibiotic therapy.

The CDC invites healthcare stakeholders, providers as well as consumers to share the important Be Antibiotic Aware message during this week long observance by

Antibiotic Awareness Week events specific to Nebraska include Antibiotic Awareness Week proclamation signing by Governor Pete Ricketts on Monday, November 4th, blogs from Nebraska ASAP on important antibiotic stewardship topics, postings from the UNMC ID Division blog about antibiotic use topics, informational booths and campaigns from partnering organizations on appropriate antibiotic use through various channels/locations.

We look forward to your participation in the Antibiotic Awareness Week from November 18 to 24.

Written by Phil Chung, PharmD, BCIDP

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