Antibiotic Awareness Week

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) coordinates Antibiotic Awareness Week in Australia as part of a global initiative to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance and promote the responsible use of antibiotics.

Antibiotic Awareness Week provides an opportunity to highlight the problem of antimicrobial resistance and promote the safe and judicious use of antimicrobials in your health service or hospital.

Antibiotic resistance has been identified as one of the greatest threats to human health today.

“The loss of effective antibiotics will undermine our ability to fight infectious diseases and manage the infectious complications common in vulnerable patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, dialysis for renal failure, and surgery, especially organ transplantation, for which the ability to treat secondary infections is crucial.”1

The prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens is rising worldwide. Patients with infections due to resistant bacteria experience delayed recovery and treatment failure and are more likely to die than patients with infections from non-resistant organisms.

Antibiotic Awareness Week occurs annually in November

Key messages for Antibiotic Awareness Week

This years' theme is ‘Antibiotics. Handle with care’ and focuses the following key messages:

  • initiate urgent treatment of life-threatening conditions
  • obtain samples for culture before starting therapy
  • use Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic*
  • educate and involve patients and carers
  • document prescription, reason and review date
  • review treatment and seek advice when necessary
  • switch treatment when indicated.

Resources for Antibiotic Awareness Week

To assist hospitals and health service facilities promote Antibiotic Awareness Week, the ACSQHC has developed resources to support this years’ theme. Resources available include:

  • presentations
  • posters
  • pocket cards
  • fact sheets.

Take the pledge with NPS MedicineWise

NPS MedicineWise encourages both healthcare professionals and consumers to take the pledge to fight against antibiotic resistance.

Health professionals are encouraged to have the sometimes difficult conversations with patients when antibiotics are not appropriate. The NPS also has a range of resources to support Antibiotic Awareness.

Antibiotic Awareness Day global chat

Antibiotic Awareness Week Australia chat

There will be Twitter discussions all week. Join the conversation and learn more about the problem of antibiotic resistance and safe antibiotic use. Many clinicians and organisations will be participating.

Use the hashtag #AbxAus for the local campaign with our partners.

Antibiotic Awareness Day Global chat

The European CDC coordinates a global Twitter chat! Organisations and experts from countries around the world including Australia, Canada, the US and many in Europe participate.

Follow the Commission on Twitter @ACSQHC using the hashtag #AntibioticResistance for the global Twitter chat

Antimicrobial prescribing e-learning

The ACSQHC and NPS have developed a series of online learning modules for healthcare professionals to promote and support the responsible prescribing of antibiotics.

How Local Health Networks can support Antibiotic Awareness Week

SA Health Local Health Networks can support Antibiotic Awareness Week through:

  • presentations at grand rounds and other staff education sessions
  • display of posters within hospitals
  • information booths with resources from ACSQHC and consumer handouts
  • utilising social media to promote key Antibiotic Awareness messages

Further information

For further information on Antibiotic Awareness Week activities in South Australia, contact SA Health's Infection Control Service.


1 From Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. US Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

* Source: Therapeutic guidelines: Antibiotics, Version 15, 2014

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