Responsible use of antibiotics saves lives – International Infection Prevention Week 2020

It’s International Infection Prevention Week 2020 and the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) and the Choosing Wisely campaign are sending a reminder that the responsible use of antibiotics is critical to people’s health.

Choosing Wisely is an international campaign that aims to reduce unnecessary tests and treatments to ensure high-quality health care by promoting better shared decision-making between health professionals and consumers. The campaign has the following recommendations for health professionals about using antibiotics wisely.

More detailed information about these recommendations, including their evidence-base, can be found on the Choosing Wisely website.

Australasian Society for Infectious Disease

  • Do not use antibiotics in asymptomatic bacteriuria.
  • Do not take a swab or use antibiotics for the management of a leg ulcer without clinical infection.
  • Avoid prescribing antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infection (with the exception of sore throat in populations at high risk for complication of group A infection, such as acute rheumatic fever or post-streptococcal glomulornephritis).

Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine

  • Do not use antimicrobials to treat bacteriuria in older adults where specific urinary tract symptoms are not present.

College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia And New Zealand

  • Consider antibiotic de-escalation daily.

Internal Medicine Society of Australia And New Zealand

  • Once patients have become afebrile (non-feverish) and are clinically improving, don’t continue prescribing intravenous antibiotics to those with uncomplicated infections and no high-risk features if they are tolerant of oral antibiotics.

New Zealand and Australian Societies of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery

  • Don’t prescribe oral antibiotics for uncomplicated acute discharge from grommets.
  • Don’t prescribe oral antibiotics for uncomplicated acute otitis externa.

New Zealand Dermatological Society

  • Don’t use oral antibiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis unless there is clinical evidence of infection.
  • Don’t routinely use topical antibiotics on a surgical wound.

Paediatrics & Child Health

  • Do not routinely prescribe oral antibiotics to children with fever without an identified bacterial infection.

International Infection Prevention Week runs from October 18-24 and aims to celebrate the hardworking infection preventionists keeping our communities safe.