PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
November 16, 2015

Cathleen D. Bennett
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Observes Get Smart About Antibiotics Week 2015

Antibiotics are powerful medicines used to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases, but overuse poses significant public health threats. 

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week is an annual observance intended to educate the public about proper antibiotic use and prevention of antibiotic-resistant infections across all health care settings. Gov. Chris Christie signed a proclamation recognizing Nov. 16 – 22 as Get Smart About Antibiotics Week in New Jersey.

“The best way to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections is to change the way antibiotics are prescribed and used in order to preserve their power,” Acting Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett said. “Antibiotics do not fight viruses such as colds and flus. Trust your doctor to find the best treatment for you.”

Antibiotic overuse increases the development of drug-resistant germs, and the cost and complexity of treating simple infections. As a result, bacteria stop responding to drugs designed to kill them, increasing the risk of serious illness and even death when these infections cannot be treated.

Up to one-half of antibiotic use is either unnecessary or inappropriate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This creates additional health risks by increasing the chances that a patient will experience adverse drug reactions.

More than 2 million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics annually, and at least 23,000 people die as a result, according to the CDC.

To minimize the impact of antibiotic resistance, you should:

• Only take antibiotics prescribed to you, and take them as recommended
• Implement proper hand hygiene as part of your daily routine
• Receive recommended vaccinations
• Discuss concerns about antibiotic resistance with your healthcare provider.

The observance of Get Smart About Antibiotics Week 2015 marks the first annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, coinciding with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, Canada Antibiotic Awareness week, and similar observances across the globe.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (@ECDC_EU) is hosting an all-day global Twitter chat on Nov. 18 using the hashtag #AntibioticResistance. CDC will be hosting part of this live Twitter chat from 2-4 p.m. (@CDC_NCEZID). CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC) will be tweeting during the chat.

For more information about Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 11/16/2015