Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together


2022 11 18


World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign celebrated each year between 18-24 November. The theme of WAAW 2022 is "Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance together".

The World Health Organization (WHO) urges all sectors to cooperate in promoting the prudent use of antibiotics and strengthening preventive measures, and the specialists of the National Public Health Center (NVSC) in turn remind of the risk associated with antibiotic overuse and how we can contribute to preserving their effectiveness.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. 

As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

 According to the World Health Organization, in 2019 bacterial drug resistance caused 1.27 million deaths worldwide.
"Antimicrobial resistance is a growing European and global health problem in both humans and animals, which leads to limited or poor options for treatment and diminishing the quality of life. It also has significant economic consequences in terms of increasing heath care costs and productivity losses," - says Kristina Rudžinskaitė, advisor at NVSC, Kaunas Department, Communicable Diseases Management Division.

Antibiotics only treat diseases caused by bacteria

With the onset of the cold season, the incidence of acute upper respiratory tract infections and flu increases that leads to an increased consumption of antibiotics. However, it is important to know that:

• Antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria
• Antibiotics for influenza, COVID-19 and colds do not work
• Antibiotics can only be prescribed by a doctor
• Antibiotics should be used as prescribed by the doctor
• Even if you feel better, do not stop taking antibiotics

"Every time you have a sore throat, a fever, or a cough, you shouldn't immediately turn to antibiotics. They can only be prescribed by a doctor who has diagnosed the cause of the disease. Therefore, we urge patients and doctors to use and prescribe antibiotics responsibly, " - emphasizes the representative of the NVSC.

What else can be done to prevent antimicrobial resistance?

The correct use of antibiotics is a critical tool to help reduce antimicrobial resistance, but there are other effective ways.

"Every person can contribute to preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics if they wash their hands thoroughly to prevent the spread of pathogens; follow cough and sneeze etiquette; get vaccinated; practice safe sex; properly prepare food and ensure its safety etc.", - says Kristina Rudžinskaitė.

NVSC professionals remind us that we all together and individually are responsible for preserving the effectiveness of antimicrobial drugs for future generations.