Every year, the 3rd week in October is observed as International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) by APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The aim is to raise awareness about the role that infection prevention plays in improving patient safety. This year, the week will be celebrated from October 19-25, 2014 and the theme is antibiotic resistance, now an increasingly serious threat to global public health.

International Infection Prevention

Established in 1986, APIC has headed the annual effort to highlight the importance of infection prevention among healthcare professionals, administrators, legislators, and consumers. APIC’s web page offers several tools including online resources to help participants advocate and promote IIPW. The “Infection Prevention and You” infographics help educate patients and families on their roles in infection prevention.

The organization also offers suggestions for healthcare providers to participate in the event with activities such as using IIPW logos and other sample materials to create signs, posters, banners, screen savers, and announcements for your facility, adding an IIPW message to the email signature line, creating IIPW tray liners for cafeteria food tray and organizing a group to view the IIPW webinar.

Inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant organisms, resulting in about 23,000 deaths annually. That’s why it is very important that people take antibiotics only in accordance with the physician’s instructions.

Strategies for improving antibiotic use and evidence for best practices in antibiotic management are growing. Increased adoption and capabilities of electronic health records will promote the integration of IT into the presentation of clinical data and expand decision-making for antibiotic use. The role of diagnostic laboratory testing is another area which is evolving. Rapid diagnostic tests are now available that can lead to improved use of antibiotics. A study presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) has found that compared to standard testing, a rapid test to detect pathogens and antimicrobial resistance can lead to more judicious use of antibiotics.