Happy “Get Confused about Antibiotics Week”

The CDC designated this week as “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week.” I know, pretty exciting.

Although I’m all on board with awareness, and its goal (reducing resistance evolution in bacteria), I think the people at the CDC are actively ignoring an insanely easy way to educate the public: simply stop using the word “antibiotic,” and instead say “antibacterial”. E.g., people at the CDC should open up all their Word documents and web pages and do a global search/replace. Would take a week to fix the formatting changes caused by the extra characters. The cost of doing this would probably be much less than what they spend getting all those cartoons for their posters on antibiotics.

The reason I suggest this is that most people assume antibiotics work against viruses. And who can blame them? It’s what the word use to mean. Below is a sample definition from 1910:

Definition of antibioticand here’s what a Google search displays:

Definition of antibioticOf course, the CDC loves the word “antibiotics.” And thus it would take an Executive Order to get them to do what I suggest. But if you agree with me and eventually become President, could you please consider sending them that memo?? You’d make me happy, and save a lot of lives.

More details at “Curbing the misuse of antibiotics.”

About Colin Purrington

PhD in evolutionary biology • twitterinstagram
This entry was posted in Biology, Education, Science and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Happy “Get Confused about Antibiotics Week”

  1. Ken says:

    Something that people should be aware of is that if you have surgery and have been recently treated with an antibacterial (I agree, it does make sense to call them that, as you need an antiprotozoal if you have Giardia) then your risk of a resistant bacterial infection is greatly increased.

  2. Marcel says:

    > The reason I suggest this is that most people assume antibiotics work against bacteria.

    Um, this was supposed to say “work against viruses”, I presume?

Leave a Reply