Nov. 16, 2023
State agencies, partners team up to combat antibiotic resistance with One Health approach
All Minnesotans play a part in keeping antibiotics effective
On Friday, Nov. 17, the Lowry Avenue Bridge, I-35W Bridge and Capella Tower will light up in purple in honor of U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov. 18-24). State agencies and other partners are using U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week to shed light on the importance of ongoing antibiotic stewardship to protect human, animal and environmental health.
This annual campaign highlights a commitment, nationally and in Minnesota, to use antibiotics appropriately. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, endangering the health of humans, animals and the environment. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.
Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed Nov. 18 to 24 “Antibiotic Awareness Week (PDF)” in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, more than 100 professionals in public health, human and veterinary medicine, agriculture and environmental protection work together as the Minnesota One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative (MOHASC) to promote judicious antibiotic use across settings to reduce the impact of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. In 2023, the collaborative received formal recognition and financial support from the Minnesota Legislature.
“Minnesota has long been recognized as a national leader in promoting the appropriate use of antibiotics with its unique One Health approach,” said Kristen Clark, the Minnesota Department of Health’s new director of MOHASC. “This funding from the legislature will support further cross-sector and multi-agency collaboration.”
As part of this work, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) describes the current state of stewardship and highlights actionable data in the report, Antibiotic Use and Stewardship in Minnesota: 2023 Update on Progress and Opportunities (PDF), to inform future initiatives at the statewide and health care partner level. MDH also works with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association, the University of Minnesota and other partners to ensure progress on appropriate antibiotic use in all settings where antibiotics are used, including in veterinary clinics and on farms.
“Antibiotics are amazing tools that must be treated with great care because of the limitations that come with them,” said Jessica Evanson, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Drug Residue Prevention Program coordinator and MOHASC animal workgroup vice chair. “Prevention of antibiotic residues in food-animal products, such as milk, is necessary to protect Minnesota’s food supply.”
All Minnesotans play a part in keeping antibiotics effective, especially during cold and flu season. Antibiotics will not work against the common cold, influenza, RSV, COVID-19 and other viral illnesses. Here’s how you can help:
- Reduce the need for antibiotics by avoiding infections. Wash your hands properly, cover your cough, stay home if you are sick, and stay up to date with recommended vaccinations.
- Do not ask for antibiotics if your health care provider (including your dentist) thinks they are unnecessary.
- When you are prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as directed and for the full amount of time directed.
- Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics.
- Do not save antibiotics for your next illness. Properly dispose of any leftover medication as soon as the prescribed course of treatment is completed. Information on proper disposal of medication can be found at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Don't flush medicines down the drain.
For more information, visit the MDH Antibiotics Only When Needed webpage.