To combat what it says might be the single most important infectious disease threat of our time – antibiotic resistance – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is promoting Get Smart About Antibiotics Week Nov. 16 to 22. The event encourages relevant stakeholders and the general public to engage in antibiotic stewardship in outpatient, inpatient, and animal health settings.

All stakeholders should be conscious of the way antibiotics are prescribed and used to ensure that drugs designed to kill bacteria remain effective. Up to one-half of antibiotic use in humans is either unnecessary or inappropriate. When patients take drugs inappropriately, bacteria become resistant to the antibiotics. This resistance diminishes the ability of providers to effectively treat patients with complex health care needs, such as sepsis, cancer, organ transplants, and burns. By implementing inpatient antibiotic stewardship programs, hospitals have been able to save lives and lower health care costs.

This week also marks the first annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, coinciding with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Canada Antibiotic Awareness Week, and other observances across the world. Earlier this year, the CDC also released a National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.