USAAW is an annual observance that highlights the steps everyone can take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use.
U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 18-24, 2021.
Antibiotics can save lives and are critical tools for treating a number of common and more serious infections, like those that can lead to sepsis. At least 28% of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. outpatient settings are unnecessary and each year, enough prescriptions are written in outpatient settings to give five out of every six Americans one antibiotic prescription.
Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health.
Antibiotic resistance happens when germs, like bacteria and fungi, develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a 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 life-saving drugs will be available for future generations.
USAAW involves collaboration amongst 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 Dayexternal icon
- Australia’s Antibiotic Awareness Weekexternal icon
- Canada’s Antibiotic Awareness Weekexternal icon
- World Antibiotic Awareness Weekexternal icon
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, @CDC_NCEZID and @CDC_AR 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 CDC.gov email updates.
- Share social media messages, images, and animated graphics on your organization’s social media channels. Remember to use #USAAW21 and #BeAntibioticsAware in every post! For our global Twitter Storm, remember to use #AntibioticResistance and #WAAW.
- 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 professionals, available in English and Spanish.
- Play videos (available in English and Spanish) on TV screens and iPads in your medical office, pharmacy, waiting room, or lobby.