World Antibiotic Awareness Week or World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is November 18-24, 2020.

Since resistance is growing to a wider range of drugs, the focus of this campaign has recently been broadened from antibiotics to all antimicrobials.

Antibiotics are antimicrobials, but not all antimicrobials are antibiotics.

Antimicrobials are substances that kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, helminths and protozoa. Antimicrobials therefore can be divided into antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, anthelmintics and antiprotozoals.

This is an annual observance to increase awareness of antibiotic and other antimicrobial resistance. The goal is to encourage best practices in order to help avoid further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections in both animals and in humans.

Resistance occurs when microorganisms become resistant to the effects of the drug. This leads to making it more challenging to treat common infections, and consequently leads to more disease spread, severe illnesses and death. When microorganisms become resistant to a drug, a stronger drug needs to be turned to which typically comes with more possible and serious side effects.

Incorrectly using and overusing antimicrobials are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant infections. It is crucial to choose antimicrobial therapy wisely and to practice antimicrobial stewardship - who is with me?