Antimicrobials are agents that fight diseases and include antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic medicines. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medicines, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
For example, antibiotics kill bacteria, but they cannot kill viral infections like colds and flu. Often they are incorrectly used for those illnesses, leading to antibiotic resistance.
The World Health Organization has warned that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health today. Antibiotic resistance is a serious worldwide problem, and it’s happening in Australia.
But we can help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by being part of the solution. There are simple actions individuals can take to help stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24 November each year) is an annual event that raises awareness about the serious health issue of antibiotic resistance and encourages people across the globe to handle antibiotics with care.
It’s time to take antibiotic resistance seriously. We all have a part to play in helping to preserve the power of antibiotics. And there are simple steps you can take now to prevent antibiotic resistance.
The World Health Organization has more information about World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and campaign materials to download.
In Australia, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care also has more information and downloadable resources.