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Teaming up across the Atlantic to Improve Antimicrobial Use

Posted On: November 13, 2018

Improving antimicrobial prescribing and use is a critical strategy to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As in previous years, TATFAR is teaming up to support the 2018 World Antibiotic Awareness Week. This annual one-week observance, set for Nov. 12 – Nov. 18, raises awareness around one of TATFAR’s three key focus areas—to improve appropriate therapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in medical and veterinary communities. Take a look below for activities from TATFAR members Canada, European Union (EU), Norway, and the United States (U.S.), and check their websites for more information.

You can also participate in the week by joining the Global Twitter Storm on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 9–10 a.m. ET using #AntibioticResistance. Share resources, answer questions, and join the global discussion on antibiotic use and AMR!

Everyone can help improve antimicrobial prescribing and use. When a patient needs antimicrobials, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects and AMR. Improving the way healthcare professionals and veterinarians prescribe antimicrobials, and the way we take antimicrobials, helps keep us healthy, helps fight AMR, and ensures that these lifesaving antimicrobials will be available for future generations.

Canadian Efforts

Canada is taking a “One Health” approach to AMR and antimicrobial use, which involves strengthening the cooperation between the different sectors responsible for AMR. In this vein, multiple departments within the Government of Canada have activities planned for Antibiotic Awareness Week 2018, including TATFAR members the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health, will release a message about Antibiotic Awareness Week and the importance of responsible use to preserve their effectiveness. There will also be a series of video testimonials posted on the Government of Canada antibiotic resistance webpage, including one from the Chief Public Health Officer, a cancer survivor and a pharmacist.

The PHAC is releasing a number of materials, including the 2018 Canadian Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (CARSS) report, the November issue of the Canada Communicable Disease Report (focused on healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance), and online materials for antibiotic resistance awareness, and will also be promoting the “Using Antibiotics Wisely” mini-campaign; a joint initiative of Choosing Wisely Canada and PHAC. PHAC will participate in the Global Twitter Storm on Thursday, November 15 at 9:00 a.m. (EST) with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the U.S. CDC, and provincial partners.

The CIHR will publish a range of information on its website and its social media accounts, including CIHR-funded studies, infographics, and messages from partners and stakeholders. CIHR will also share a text on its AMR-related activities from Dr. Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity, and Dr. Steven Hoffman, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has created and published a Science Fact Sheet on Antimicrobial Resistance and information on the responsible use of medically important antimicrobials in animals.

Health Canada is organizing, in partnership with PHAC, a speaker event on Nov. 13 which will bring together leading experts in the AMR field and feature research presentations, as well as a panel discussion on how Canada can provide a leadership role in preventing further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance at a global level. Health Canada will also finalize the Pathogens of Interest List and issue an updated Notice in November. The list will help inform drug sponsors of the bacterial pathogens in most urgent need of innovative therapeutic drugs and devices in Canada and guide the development of tools and policy approaches by Health Canada

AAFC published summaries of recent and current studies conducted by their agricultural research scientists, including: the impact of cranberries on broiler chicken immunity; feeding piglets without antibiotics; and the discovery of antibiotic resistance genes.

Government of Canada social media accounts to follow for AMR information.

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European Efforts

Twitter 2018 Keep Antibiotics Working

The European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is 18 November. Every year, the EU Member States and European Economic Area (EEA) countries observe the day with awareness initiatives, events, and communication campaigns across Europe focused on antibiotic resistance and prudent use of antibiotics. This year marks the 11th European Antibiotic Awareness Day.

For EAAD 2018, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), in cooperation with the European Commission, will host an EU-level event titled “One Health to Keep Antibiotics Working.” The event, moderated by Kate Kelland (Reuters), will open with a keynote speech by EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and will feature contributions by:

  • Dr. Andrea Ammon, Director, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • Dr. Nedret Emiroglu, Director Programme Management, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
  • Ms. Francesca Colombo, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Dr. Cornelius Schmaltz, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Ms. Nicola Holsten, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission
  • Marie-Cécile Ploy, Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI)

During this event, latest estimates will be presented showing the health burden of antibiotic resistance, and new data on the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections and of antimicrobial consumption in acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities in the EU/EEA.

The European Commission will report on the deliverables of the EU One-Health Action Plan, with a specific focus on the upcoming adoption of the new EU legislation on veterinary medicines and medicated feed. The event will be web streamed on ECDC’s YouTube channel and on EAAD’s Facebook page. All participants will be tweeting live using #EAAD, and people from around the globe can join remotely and ask questions through Twitter using the same hashtag.

In 2017, ECDC launched an online social media campaign called #KeepAntibioticsWorking. It will continue this year and everyone is encouraged to share a message, picture, or video on their social media channels showing what they are doing in their personal life, or at collective level to use antibiotics responsibly and to ensure that remain effective.

The European Commission plans to release the results of a large-scale Eurobarometer survey, mapping the public opinion on antibiotics in all EU countries. The results will be published on 15 November. ECDC will also launch a similar survey about healthcare workers’ knowledge and attitudes about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in January 2019.

For tools and resources, such as communication toolkits and patient stories, in all EU/EEA languages, visit EAAD’s website.

Norwegian Efforts

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, with partners, is co-organizing a public event and panel discussion about the consequences of a world without effective antibiotics. The event is co-organized with the Norwegian Cancer Society, and will be held on Nov. 19. There will also be social media throughout World Antibiotics Awareness Week to raise awareness.

United States Efforts

CDC Linkedin

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW) is an annual one-week observance to raise awareness of the threat of AMR and the importance of appropriate antimicrobial prescribing and use.

The U.S. will share One Health information throughout the week by leading social media conversations, providing materials, and hosting webinars.

As in previous years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will feature Be Antibiotics Aware resources, a national educational effort to keep patients safe, decrease adverse drug events, and help fight AMR. The U.S. is also collaborating with partners to highlight the global AMR Challenge commitments that organizations have made to fight against AMR.

Get involved!

  • Download and distribute Be Antibiotics Aware educational materials.
  • Make a commitment to The AMR Challenge. Join leaders worldwide to combat antibiotic resistance by improving antibiotic use, including ensuring access to these drugs globally. E-mail ARX@cdc.gov for more information.
  • Watch and share “The Right Tool” TV Public Service Announcement and “Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer” animated video on CDC’s Antibiotic Use website.
  • Use social media to spark conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Follow CDC on Twitter: @cdcgov and @cdc_ncezid.
    • Join the Global Twitter Storm on Thurs. November 15 from 9-10 am EDT.
      • Use the official hashtags #USAAW18, #antibioticresistance, and #BeAntibioticsAware for the CDC campaign at
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