The Maryland Department of Health Recognizes US Antibiotic Awareness Week 2018

Highlights Importance of Using Antibiotics Appropriately to Avoid Antibiotic Resistance — One of the Most Urgent Threats to the Public’s Health


BALTIMORE, MD (November 15, 2018) – U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week — Nov. 12-16, 2018 — is an annual observance highlighting ways everyone can improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the antibiotics designed to kill them. In the U.S., at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics each year and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result.


To bring attention to the importance of one of the most urgent threats to the public’s health, the Maryland Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other national partners are raising awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and emphasizing the importance of appropriate antibiotic use across all health care settings.


“Improving the way health care providers prescribe antibiotics is critical to ensuring the continued availability of effective treatment for bacterial infections for generations to come,” said Fran Phillips, deputy secretary for Public Health Services. “To combat antibiotic resistance, antibiotics must be prescribed and used appropriately.”


Antibiotic use is the single most important contributing factor to antibiotic resistance, and up to one-third to one-half of antibiotic use in people is either unnecessary or inappropriate. Each year in the U.S., 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are written in health care provider’s offices, emergency departments, and hospital-based clinics, which makes improving antibiotic prescribing and use a national priority. Antibiotics are responsible for almost one out of every five emergency department visits for adverse drug reactions and are the most common cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug reactions in children under 18 years of age.


The Maryland Department of Health continues to address this challenge by leading the Campaign for Appropriate Antibiotic Use (CAAUSE), a statewide collaborative of health care providers from more than 40 institutions working collaboratively and sharing best practices to improve antibiotic prescribing in Maryland health care facilities. Additionally, the Department recently partnered with The Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy to further promote appropriate use of antibiotics in Maryland long-term care and nursing facilities, which are the next frontier for improving antibiotic use.  More information can be found at


The U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week 2018 observance coincides with the fourth annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, as well as European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Canada Antibiotic Awareness Week, and other similar observances across the world. For additional information about U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, please visit




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