Healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance are closely related issues that concern patients, physicians, healthcare providers and public health experts. Due to their associated morbidity and mortality, they lead to a high strain on individuals and health systems.
For example it is estimated that in the European Union (EU) alone, the excess hospital stay attributable to selected common multidrug-resistant infections in hospitals amounts to 2.5 million days and 25,000 patients die each year as a result of these infections.
Acknowledging the importance of the subject, the EU Commission formulated a strategy against Antimicrobial Resistance and EU Health Ministers adopted Council recommendations on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine already in 2001 [3,4] and many more initiatives followed.
Last year, the European Commission released its Action plan against the rising threats from antimicrobial resistance. Another initiative is the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) that provides a platform and support for national campaigns on the prudent use of antibiotics. This European health initiative, coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm, has grown over the years and new important partners have joined.
The first EAAD took place on 18 November 2008 and has been marked at the same date also in the following years. While the first year saw 32 countries participating, in 2012, over 40 countries have started or will launch activities around 18 November when the fifth EAAD takes place.
Moreover, in 2012, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe supports the campaign actively for the first time and a range of activities have also been organised this week in the United States, in Canada and in Australia.