AAFP Joins Global Efforts to Curb Antibiotic Resistance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Monday, November 16, 2015

Contact:
Kristin Pitts
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5221
kpitts@aafp.org

LEAWOOD, Kan. — You really can have too much of a good thing. Over the years, antibiotics have saved the lives of countless people, but their overuse and misuse has allowed drug-resistant bacteria to flourish.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant bacteria infects at least 2 million people every year in the United States, and kills at least 23,000. That’s why the American Academy of Family Physicians, along with the CDC and other international and national partners, will observe Get Smart About Antibiotics Week November 16-22. The week raises awareness of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. 

“Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health. This issue won’t be solved by one group; we have to band together. The AAFP will continue to call on those in the medical and food production communities to combat the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Wanda Filer, MD, MBA, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week 2015 marks an important year, during which the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria laid out key actions for implementing the national strategy. A White House forum concerning antibiotic stewardship heralded widespread and coordinated commitments to combat antibiotic resistance among a wide variety of stakeholders.

“Everyone should be concerned about this issue because antibiotic resistance anywhere is antibiotic resistance everywhere,” said Lauri Hicks, director for CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship. “In order to minimize the impact of antibiotic resistance, it is important that everyone only takes antibiotics prescribed for themselves, implements proper hand hygiene in their everyday routine, receives recommended vaccinations, and discusses their concerns about antibiotic resistance with their health care provider.”

The AAFP’s participation in Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is the latest in the AAFP’s ongoing efforts to combat antibiotic resistance. In the past year alone, the AAFP has called on the medical and food production communities to limit antibiotic use.

Further, as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, the AAFP identified recommendations that aim to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics. The Choosing Wisely campaign encourages specialty societies to identify commonly used tests or procedures that are possibly overused. The AAFP identified two procedures related to antibiotic use that physicians and patients should question. They include:

  • Don't prescribe antibiotics for otitis media in children aged 2-12 years with non-severe symptoms where the observation option is reasonable.
  • Don't routinely prescribe antibiotics for acute mild-to-moderate sinusitis unless symptoms last for seven or more days OR symptoms worsen after initial clinical improvement.  

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week 2015 marks the first annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which coincides with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Canada Antibiotic Awareness Week, and other similar observances across the world. For additional information about Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart(www.cdc.gov).

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).