President’s Message on Antibiotic Awareness Week, 2017

White House Wednesday
FILE PHOTO: Then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

West Wing, The White House (Gov./YC) – During Antibiotic Awareness Week, we recognize the often underappreciated threat that resistance to antibiotics poses to our Nation’s health.  We remind our Nation’s medical professionals, veterinarians, and researchers to learn about the appropriate prescribing and use of antibiotics, and remind them of their role in helping patients use antibiotics appropriately so that we can better combat this emerging health concern.

Since they were first marketed in the 1940s, antibiotics have helped to revolutionize modern healthcare, offering cures to previously untreatable infections.  Millions of people owe their health to the healing power of antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance, however, limits—and can even eliminate—the power of antibiotics, putting individuals and communities at greater health risk.  Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria survive despite encountering antibiotic medicines designed to kill them.  As a result, many infections have become increasingly difficult to cure—making millions of Americans sick and causing tens of thousands of deaths in the United States each year.

My Administration is, therefore, committed to implementing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.  This plan provides a roadmap to identify instances of antibiotic resistance, stop the spread of resistance, and improve the prescribing and use of antibiotics.  We will strengthen our collaboration with international partners and empower our Nation’s greatest minds to develop new vaccines, diagnostic tests, and medications to prevent, diagnose, and treat infections.  While these efforts will surely be fruitful, the best way for us to combat the public health threats from bacterial infections is for patients and doctors alike to do their part and prescribe and use antibiotics only when needed and only as directed.

This week, I encourage Americans to learn more about antibiotic resistance and what each of us can do to confront this increasingly important public health issue.  Together, we will slow the spread antibiotic resistance and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations.