Antibiotic2.pngThis week is World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) and European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD).

European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD), led by European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) is a public health initiative aimed at encouraging responsible use of antibiotics held on 18 November every year.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), led by the World Health Organisation, takes place from 18–24 November each year. It aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Dr Clare Hamson, Antimicrobial Management Team Lead Consultant Microbiologist at NCIC, said: “This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous additional challenges for health professionals managing patients with infections. Now, more than ever we need to continue to work together to prevent serious infections – including COVID-19 - whilst reducing inappropriate antibiotic use.

“Healthcare professionals can avoid inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in the context of COVID-19 by following current NICE guidelines to infer if pneumonia has a COVID-19, viral or bacterial cause. Coughs, fever and breathlessness related to COVID-19 are to be managed in line with new clinical guidance, not with antibiotics.

“We can help patients to understand that antibiotics do not prevent or treat viral infections including COVID-19. Antibiotics can cause side-effects, including nausea and diarrhoea. Antibiotics use can also increase the risk of spreading infections that are caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”

Key message and action for individuals this WAAW

Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem that requires health care professionals and members of the public to change their attitudes and behaviours towards antibiotics.

You can play your part by becoming an antibiotic guardian and choosing one simple pledge about how you’ll make better use of antibiotics and help Keep Antibiotics Working. Choose or renew your Antibiotic Guardian pledge via and encourage colleagues, family members and friends to do the same.

How is NCIC marking the week?

Dr Hamson said: “Healthcare professionals are being asked to support the Antibiotic Review Kit (ARK) initiative by visiting the ARK website and completing the e-learning designed to help all healthcare professionals to reduce antibiotic overuse in hospitals.

“The antimicrobial stewardship team will be conducting a point prevalence survey on antimicrobial use and prescribing across the Trust and reinforcing some key messages with clinical teams.

“We will be participating in the Global Twitter Storm today.”

Key messages for Healthcare professionals

  • Visit the Antibiotic Review Kit (ARK) website and complete the e-learning via ESR
  • Clinicians are reminded to review all antibiotic prescriptions on daily ward rounds and STOP unless there is justification to continue. When antibiotics are justified, think IV to oral switch and think about antibiotic course length; keep them short as recommended by local guidelines.

Further information and useful resources

Interesting blog to share with colleagues and patients “10 reasons you should be worried about antibiotic resistance”:

View this short animation video on lower UTI in elderly patients developed by the antimicrobial stewardship team at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust-