World Antibiotic Awareness Week (12 to 18 November 2018): ‘Misuse of Antibiotics puts us all at Risk’

World Antibiotic Awareness Week is celebrated from 12 to 18 November each year to increase global awareness of antibiotic resistance (AMR) and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. This year, there are several themes, with two main messages:

‘Think twice. Seek advice’; and

‘Misuse of Antibiotics puts us all at Risk’

Background Information:

Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines.

Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.


Antibiotic resistance leads to higher medical costs, prolonged hospital stays, and increased mortality.

The world urgently needs to change the way it prescribes and uses antibiotics. Even if new medicines are developed, without behaviour change, antibiotic resistance will remain a major threat. Behaviour changes must also include actions to reduce the spread of infections through vaccination, hand washing, practising safer sex, and good food hygiene.


Key Messages:

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.


Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.


Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.


A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.


Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.


WHO’s Global Action Plan to address Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR):

The “Global action plan on antimicrobial resistance” has 5 strategic objectives:

  • To improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance.
  • To strengthen surveillance and research.
  • To reduce the incidence of infection.
  • To optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines.
  • To ensure sustainable investment in countering antimicrobial resistance.

WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week Global Action Plan

Useful Links:

Link to the World Antibiotic Awareness Week web site:

Learn how to handle antibiotics with care:

Link to Global Action Plan on AMR:

Link to WHO video on AMR:

Links to previous articles on Antimicrobial resistance:



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