World Antibiotic Awareness Week runs from 18th to 24th November 2019. This annual event aims to promote awareness of antibiotic resistance and improve the use of antibiotics in order to minimise the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance is considered a global threat to public health. The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) Surveillance System is designed to support Australia’s strategic response to this challenge. The 2019 AURA Report provides an overview of antibiotic use and resistance patterns in Australian hospitals, aged care, general practice, and the community. This report demonstrates that the national rates of resistance for many of the 13 priority organisms have not changed significantly since previous reports. However, several notable exceptions were highlighted, including:
- Increasing resistance of Escherichia coli to common treatment agents;
- Significantly increased resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to azithromycin;
- Very high resistance to ciprofloxacin in typhoidal species of Salmonella; and
- The continued evolution of methicillin resistance patterns in Staphylococcus aureus.
Conclusions from the recent AURA Report indicate that a renewed focus on improving antibiotic use in primary care is required. The World Health Organization (WHO) also emphasises the importance of infection prevention in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Infection prevention strategies highlighted by the WHO include education and encouragement of proper hand hygiene, vaccination, safe sex practices, and maintenance of good oral hygiene.
Healthcare professionals can refer to Standard 3 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards for further advice on the prevention of infection and limiting antimicrobial resistance in the healthcare setting.
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. AURA 2019: third Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2019.
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. 2nd ed. Sydney: ACSQHC; 2017.