World Antibiotic Awareness Week: Handle Antibiotics With Care

The World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 12–18 November points towards antibiotic resistance as a growing threat to global health. About 700 000 people die each year worldwide as a result of infection with drug-resistant bacteria. 

Many of the microbes affect both animals and humans via the environment they share and 60% of all human diseases originate in animals. 

“Because one sector alone will not solve the problem”, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe considers human, animal and environmental health all equally responsible for the correct use of antimicrobials and to avert the threat of antimicrobial resistance”.

 A ‘One Health’ approach brings together professionals in human, animal, food and environment health as one force, and as such is the only way to keep antibiotics working. 

The situation is urgent for a number of reasons:

  • Overuse of antimicrobials in livestock production, sometimes to promote growth or to prevent infection, rather than treating the animal. 
  • The same classes of antimicrobials are often used in both humans and food-producing animals.
  • The food chain is an important route for transmission of disease.

 The One Health approach means coordinating action across sectors – such as public health, veterinary and environment health – to achieve the best possible health outcomes for all species. It means recognizing that resistant microbes know no borders – they can easily cross from humans to animals and spread from one geographic location to another.

The WHO European Region calls therefore for closer collaboration across sectors to equally protect human, animal and environment health.  

Find out more here.

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