Antibiotic Awareness Week Puts Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Spotlight

By on 11:52 AM

November 13–19 marks U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week. The objective of this annual observance is to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use, in part through antimicrobial stewardship program development and implementation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that each year, at least 2 million people in the United States become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics. At least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

The use of antibiotics is the most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used for people. However, up to 50% of all the antibiotics prescribed are not needed or optimally effective as prescribed.

As part of the kickoff efforts for U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, the CDC has released "Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care." This is a national educational effort designed to help combat antibiotic resistance and protect patients from unnecessary side effects. It provides resources to support healthcare professionals and patients in their efforts to practice safe antibiotic use.

Prescribing the right dose of the right antibiotic at the right time, and for the right duration helps fight antibiotic resistance, protects patients from unnecessary side effects from antibiotics and helps make sure life-saving antibiotics will work when needed.

The observance of marks U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is an international collaboration, coinciding with:

For assistance with developing and maintaining an antimicrobial stewardship program, contact Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS). ICCS is a national consulting firm providing services to healthcare facilities including hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, nursing homes, physician practices and veterinary clinics.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.