About U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW)


U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is observed November 18-24, annually. The purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate antibiotic and antifungal use and the threat of antimicrobial resistance across the One Health spectrum. One Heath is an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and plants and their shared environment.

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About antimicrobial resistance

Any time antibiotics or antifungals are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health. Antimicrobial resistance happens when germs, like bacteria and fungi, develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. More than 2.8 million antimicrobial-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 antimicrobial-resistant infections. Preventing infections from happening in the first place is one of the best ways to improve antibiotic and antifungal use and protect populations who are disproportionately affected by antimicrobial resistance.

USAAW 2023

During USAAW 2023, CDC is focusing on the connection between appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use and health equity. CDC defines health equity as the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Health inequities resulting from less- than-optimal antibiotic or antifungal prescribing practices may impact health outcomes, resulting in an increase in drug-related adverse events or an increase antimicrobial resistance.1 Disparities related to antimicrobial resistance can be impacted by socioeconomic factors such as household income, type of health insurance, access to health care, and education level.

Who participates in USAAW

Partner organizations—including U.S. federal agencies, health departments, professional societies, corporations, and patient and family representatives—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.

More than 300 organizations have participated in U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week in a variety of ways—from participating in activities and events to distributing CDC materials, graphics, and messaging.

Global observances

The dates of the USAAW observance are aligned with the World Health Organization observing World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week (WAAW). Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global public health threat, as it has been identified in all regions of the world. Factors such as access to clean water and adequate sanitation, vaccination coverage, and access to quality healthcare can impact the amount of antimicrobial resistance and number of infections worldwide.

Other international observances coinciding with USAAW include:

Digital resources

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Press materials

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  1. Christine Kim, Sarah Kabbani, William C Dube, Melinda Neuhauser, Sharon Tsay, Adam Hersh, Jasmine R Marcelin, Lauri A Hicks, Health Equity and Antibiotic Prescribing in the United States: A Systematic Scoping Review, Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Volume 10, Issue 9, September 2023, ofad440, https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofad440