Antibiotic Awareness Week, which starts Nov. 13 and ends Nov. 19., is a chance to inform people about the proper use of antibiotics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is an annual one-week observance to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use.
Todd Kelson, professor of biology at BYU-Idaho, said he has organized a group of seven students to be involved in an antibiotic awareness activity at the Turkey Trot on Nov. 18.
According to the BYU-I Student Activities page, Turkey Trot is a 5K that will be starting on the stadium track at 10 a.m.
“Students at BYU-Idaho are partly involved in solving this antibiotic crisis by searching for new antibiotics in the soil around campus,” Kelson said.
Neils Stegelmeier, a freshman studying animal science, said he and his fellow students are testing the bacteria they find in the soil for antibiotic properties.
He said there are at least three ways people misuse antibiotics.
“We are misusing antibiotics by using them when it is not needed (for the common cold or viral infection), not completing the prescribed dose and using them to promote growth and productivity in agriculture,” Stegelmeier said. “These things cause an increase in the likelihood that bacteria will become resistant to antibiotics.”
According to the CDC, 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics every year and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections.
“The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world,” according to the CDC. “Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine. Up to 50 percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective as prescribed. Antibiotics are also commonly used for promoting growth in food animals, one type of use that is not necessary.”
Stegelmeier said as he and his fellow students participate in Antibiotic Awareness Week, he hopes students will become informed of proper antibiotic use.
“We hope to increase the individual awareness of those on their personal use of antibiotics so that they use them correctly,” Stegelmeier said. “We also hope that this will influence them and their spheres of influence for future generations to come.”