Today is the start of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and, over the next week, Nottinghamshire Healthcare will be raising awareness of measures we can all take to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
Antibiotic Guardian and Keep Antibiotics Working campaigns, European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week are major public health initiatives that aim to encourage responsible use of antibiotics and tackle the global issue of antimicrobial resistance.
Antimicrobials – including antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics – are medicines used to treat infections in humans, animals and plants. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to antimicrobials.
This antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emerges naturally, usually through genetic changes. However, the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials have accelerated the development of antimicrobial resistance, as have a lack of clean water and sanitation and inadequate infection prevention and control. This makes infections harder to treat, which increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
Worldwide pollution of the environment with antimicrobial containing waste and runoff from manufacturing sites, farms, hospitals and other sources is a key driver in the development, transmission and spread of antimicrobial resistance to humans, animals and plants.
Antimicrobial resistance is one of today’s biggest global health threats. In 2019, nearly 5 million human deaths worldwide were associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and 1.27 million human deaths were directly attributable to it.
The rise of drug-resistant pathogens threatens to undo more than a century’s work of health progress and undermine the very foundations of modern medicine. For example, bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics could make vital medical procedures like organ transplants, joint replacements, cancer care, and care of preterm infants too dangerous to perform.
Antimicrobial resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Developing a new antibiotic can take 10-15 years and cost more than 1 billion USD. We all need to act now to safeguard our antimicrobials for the future.
To find out more, watch this short film ‘What would a world without antibiotics be like’ - BBC Ideas
Watch this catchy jingle from Public Health England and share it with your family and friends. Talk to your family and friends about antibiotic resistance, and the fact that we don’t always need antibiotics when we are ill.
Complete this quiz from Antibiotic Guardian with your family to check your understanding of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance.
Explore the Public Health England e-bug programme resources with your family. These include games, quizzes and animated films to teach your children / grandchildren about microbes, antibiotics, hand and food hygiene and much more.