Healthcare professional administering antibiotics to the patient
European Antibiotic Awareness Day and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020

Antibiotic resistance campaigns in November 2020

Sterillium aims to provide information through education on the cautious use of antibiotics.

Use antibiotics carefully, prevent infections with multi-resistant pathogens!

European Antibiotic Awareness on November 18, 2020 & World Antimicrobial Awareness Week November 18-24, 2020

Helping Hands
Strong against antibiotic resistance

Resistance to antibiotics is constantly increasing. What if we are empty-handed soon?

Since the very beginning, mankind has fought against infections caused by bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.

This year, one of its representatives - the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 - made it onto all the front pages and has since dominated the lives of the population and politics in most parts of the world. However, while there are no effective antiviral drugs for SARS-CoV-2, as for many other viruses, the situation is very different for bacteria. Since the first half of the 20th century, we have had a wide range of antibiotics available to effectively treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. For now - because experts are urgently warning that we could lose this advantage. With the constant increase in antibiotic resistance, the risk of potentially life-threatening bacterial infections, which cannot be successfully treated with antibiotics in the future, is also increasing. According to estimates, about 700,000 people worldwide currently die every year from infections with resistant pathogens. By 2050, according to a gloomy forecast of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance of 2014, this figure could already be 10 million people.

More focus on multi-resistant pathogens (MRP)

Virologist examines bacteria in a Petri dish
The threat of antibiotic resistance clearly in sight

The European Union launches the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) initiative in 2008.

Since 2015, the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), an initiative launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has also been held annually in November. While this year's general motto of the WAAW is "Antimicrobials: Handle with care", the health sector is addressed with the call "Unite to preserve antimicrobials". Both EAAD and WAAW share the common objectives of raising awareness of the threat of antimicrobial resistance through education and training and providing information on the prudent use of antibiotics to reduce antimicrobial resistance. To achieve this, they rely mainly on information materials and social networks. Participation and spreading the word is absolutely welcome! We at HARTMANN and BODE are one hundred percent behind the mission of EAAD and WAAW, because the proper use of antibiotics and hygiene strategies to prevent infections are part of our core competencies. Our current MRP training film also serves as basic information on MRP and informs interested professionals and laypersons about three important representatives - vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multi-resistant Gram-negative rods (MRGN) - as well as targeted infection prevention.

What role does antibiotic resistance play in the COVID 19 pandemic?

Healthcare professional at work
It is not yet clear whether the COVID 19 pandemic will change the way antibiotics are used

COVID 19 pandemic could also boost antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

Antibiotic resistance arises, for example, when antibiotics are misused - for example, when they are prescribed and used unnecessarily or inappropriately. Whether this could also happen to a greater extent in the course of the COVID 19 pandemic was recently discussed as a pro and contra debate in the specialist journal JAC - Antimicrobial Resistance and published in two articles. One of the circumstances cited was that many COVID-19 patients are treated with antibiotics as a precautionary measure out of concern about secondary bacterial infections, even though no bacterial infection is present. On the other hand, AMR rates depend on many different factors and the global spread of resistant bacteria has a greater impact on AMR than antibiotic prescriptions.

Stick together, stay safe together, stay healthy together

It remains to be seen whether the COVID 19 pandemic, with all its medical implications, will pave the way for MRP, and at best it will only be possible to investigate this once the pandemic has subsided. Either way, avoiding infection - both MRP and COVID-19 - is the best strategy and the basis of any action. In the health sector, this includes not only hand and surface disinfection and the reprocessing of medical equipment, but also personal protective equipment and other measures adapted to the respective conditions. If, despite all precautions, infections do occur, antibiotics should always be used prudently and with a sense of proportion.
Hands together
"Preventing infections through basic hygiene and the sensible use of antibiotics remain the be-all and end-all"

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