November 12-18, 2012 marks the second annual Antibiotic Awareness Week. Numerous health organizations, including the Do Bugs Need Drugs? program at the BC Centre for Disease Control have partnered together to encourage health care professionals and the public to use antibiotics wisely. Antibiotic Awareness Week is part of a worldwide effort to promote responsible use of antibiotics and coincides with similar activities in the United States and Europe.

Information about Antibiotic Awareness Week 2012 in Canada can be found here,, and includes posters to download and a link to webinars .To participate in Antibiotic Awareness Week you can:

  • Display the posters in your office and classrooms
  • Help your co-workers, patients, clients and family members to understand the significance of antibiotic resistance
  • If you have students, help them to be able to discuss the appropriate use of antibiotics with patients and community members
  • Remember to avoid infections by proper handwashing
  • Pass this information along to your co-workers and colleagues

Webinar Sessions

Session 1: The Menace of Antimicrobial Resistance

Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8:00 – 9:00 AM PST

Infections with resistant bacteria were first reported in the early part of the last century with the use of optochin to treat pneumococcal pneumonia. Early on the problem was often overlooked, because if one antibiotic did not treat the infection another was usually available. Since then, infections with resistant bacteria have become more common in healthcare and community settings, and many bacteria have become resistant to more than one type or class of antibiotics. Consequently, health care workers are faced with treating infections where antibiotic options are very limited, and in some cases, where no effective antibiotics exist. The consequences of resistance are many including: need to use antibiotics that are more expensive or more toxic; the risk of increased morbidity and mortality; failure to effectively treat, the microorganisms will persist and potentially spread to others; and the economic burden on the healthcare system. We are currently witnessing a number of new emerging threats that will challenge how we care for our patients including pan-resistant gram-negatives pathogens in both the hospital (NDM-1, MRSA), the community (multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea, MRSA, multidrug-resistant pneumococci), and in agriculture (Multidrug-resistant DT 104 Salmonella Typhimurium). 

Presenter: Dr. Donald Low,Chief of the Department of Microbiology, University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital, Professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Department of Medicine.

 For remote viewers:Log in here and enter as a guest. (Log in early as space is limited.)

Session 2: Antimicrobial Resistance: Perspectives from the Public Health Agency of Canada

Friday, November 16, 2012, 8:00 – 9:00 AM PST

Learn more about activities carried out on antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the direct impact these are having on public health practice.


Marc-André Gaudreau, Manager, Strategic Issues, Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, Public Health Agency of Canada.

Rita Finley, Senior Epidemiologist, Surveillance Division of the Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Public Health Agency of Canada.

Irene Martin, Head, Streptococcus and STI Unit, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada

Dr. Thomas Wong, Director of Professional Guidelines and Public Health Practice Division, Centre for Communicable Diseases & Infection Control, Public Health Agency of Canada


  • Monitoring AMR from farm to fork – results from the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS)
  • Antimicrobial Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeaein Canada: a National Perspective
  • Public Health Updates on the Management of multidrug resistant gonorrhea (MDR-GC)

For remote viewers: Log in here and enter as a guest. (Log in early as space is limited.)

This initiative is a collaboration of many health groups and organizations in Canada, all working under the umbrella of  The Do Bugs Need Drugs? program team is very fortunate to be part of this working group and are extremely happy that action is being taken at the national level.  We are so grateful that you are helping others to understand the need to use antibiotics wisely!