31st July 2018

'Antibiotic Footprint': A Statement from the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Antibiotic Footprint is a term used to describe how many antibiotics we consume directly or indirectly.

Using antibiotics unnecessarily leads to antibiotic resistance. Some key facts about antibiotic resistance and antibiotics:

  • It is a natural occurring phenomena that reduces how effective antibiotic are in treating human and animal health
  • It is responsible for more than 700,000 deaths per year across the globe and by 2050 it is predicted this figure will reach 10 million per year
  • Antibiotics are vital medicines that underpin everyday treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer, joint replacement surgery, transplant surgery and much more
  • Without effective antibiotics these treatments and many more are just not possible.

We can contain and reduce the harm caused by antibiotic resistance by making sure antibiotics are only used when they are needed. In human medicine this is achieved through educating healthcare professionals about appropriate use and educating the public about when antibiotics are needed, and just as importantly when they are not needed. The same is true in other sectors such as veterinary practice, animals reared for food and agriculture. By behaving responsibly we can ensure that we keep our Antibiotic Footprint to a minimum, and ensure those who must have a larger Antibiotic Footprint can be treated effectively.

The Antibiotic Footprint logo positively recognises initiatives and campaigns that promote the appropriate and effective use of antibiotics in any given sector – human, animal or agricultural. It is not intended as an endorsement of any particular product or initiative, but it is a way in which best practice in antibiotic use is acknowledged and promoted.

For more information, contact Tracey Guise, BSAC’s CEO (tguise@bsac.org.uk), or Michael Corley, BSAC’s Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer (mcorley@bsac.org.uk).

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