Attention the problem deserves: European Antibiotic Awareness Week
Winter’s coming. Cue the sore throats, sniffles and dry coughs, but this doesn’t mean antibiotics have to make an appearance too. New figures show that patients are listening to advice telling them to steer clear of GP surgeries where people ask for antibiotics for the common cold and other ‘self-limiting conditions’, such as flu. This trend suggests that the messages pumped out by health initiatives from various public organisations aren’t entirely lost in the havoc of healthcare news, and are resonating with a proportion of the public. So it makes sense for a day of the year to be dedicated to raising antibiotic awareness. Actually, better make it a week.
Held every year on 18th November, the European Antibiotics Awareness Day (EAAD) is a Europe-wide public campaign on prudent antibiotic use. Started in 2008 the EAAD was stimulated by national awareness campaigns in France and Belgium which have resulted in the continent-wide initiative coordinated by the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC). Now in its eighth year, it has been joined by the World Health Organisations’ (WHO) global version; World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW 16th-22nd November) which is in its first year. This in itself is a great example of where collaboration can kick-start something that has the potential to have an impact at a global level which, as discussed in our previous blog, is crucial because antibiotic resistance has no borders.
At Micreos, we’re excited by the momentum that’s gathering for EAAD and we’ll be actively taking part on the 18th November. As part of the EAAD initiative, Public Health England have teamed up with The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) to create the Antibiotic Guardian campaign which aims to collect as many pledges as possible from HCPs and the public to say that they’ll make one change to their behaviour towards antibiotic use (you should pledge too!). Alongside this they’re holding an antibiotic workshop at the University of Roehampton where we will be giving a presentation on Micreos’s work in endolysin technology. It will be a great chance for academics and students alike to find out about some of the weaponry besides antibiotics in our battle against antimicrobial resistance.
Speaking earlier this year at the Uppsala Health Summit, Professor Otto Cars described resistance to antibiotics as “a silent tsunami, crumbling down the pillars upon which modern medicine is built.” While antibiotic consumption has increased by 36% in the past decade1, no new classes of these drugs have been discovered since the 1980s, so we desperately need to preserve what we have, and work on new approaches. We’re delighted to see initiatives such as the EAAD and WAAW taking place and we hope that these events will broaden knowledge that misuse of antibiotics will have consequences, and underline the importance of the development of alternatives.
Van Boeckel T, Gandra S, Ashok A, MPP, Caudron Q, PhD, Grenfell BT, PhD, Levin SA, PhD, Laxminarayan R, Global antibiotic consumption 2000 to 2010: an analysis of national pharmaceutical sales data, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol 14, No 8, p742–750, August 2014 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(14)70780-7/abstract