U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is an annual observance that highlights the steps everyone can take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use.
Antibiotics save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. However, at least 30 percent of the antibiotics in U.S. outpatient settings are prescribed unnecessarily. Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result. Many more die from complications from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Improving the way healthcare professionals prescribe antibiotics, and the way we take antibiotics, helps keep us healthy now, helps fight antibiotic resistance, and ensures that these lifesaving drugs will be available for future generations.
USAAW is a collaboration of CDC, state-based programs, nonprofit partners, and for-profit partners. You can join official USAAW events or host your own. There are many ways to get involved!
CDC’s educational effort, Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care, is the year-round effort to improve antibiotic prescribing and use and combat antibiotic resistance.
The observance is an international collaboration, coinciding with:
- European Antibiotic Awareness Day
- Australia’s Antibiotic Awareness Week
- Canada’s Antibiotic Awareness Week
- World Antibiotic Awareness Week
Partner organizations—including federal agencies, health departments, professional societies, corporations, and advocacy groups—are critical to the success of U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and to raising awareness about the importance of appropriate antibiotic use throughout the year.
In the past, more than 300 organizations have participated in the observance in a variety of ways—from joining activities and events to using resources from our toolkit to post to their websites, share on social media, distribute via newsletters, and advertise. To order select free print resources, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit CDC-INFO on Demand – Publications and select “Antibiotic Use” from the Programs drop-down menu. Then click the “Search” button to view all available publications.
We invite you to participate in U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and help us share the Be Antibiotics Aware message with your partners, colleagues and friends. Follow us on social media (@CDCgov and @CDC_NCEZID on Twitter, CDC on Facebook, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on LinkedIn, and CDCgov on Instagram), bookmark our Safe Healthcare blog, and sign up for GovDelivery email updates.
How To Participate
- Share social media messages, images, and animated graphics on your organization’s social media channels. Remember to use #USAAW18 and #BeAntibioticsAware in every post!
- Include information about Be Antibiotics Aware and U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week in your organization’s print and e-newsletters.
- Print and share handouts and posters with patients and healthcare providers. Select items are now available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean.
- Play videos (available in English and Spanish) on iPads and TV screens in your medical office, pharmacy, waiting room, or lobby.
- Sign up for our email listserv: [email protected].