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Antibiotic Resistance Movement

To many dictionaries and the lay public, an "antibiotic" is a drug that treats bacteria as well as other microbes (e.g. viruses). It is, thus, a terrible word for public health organizations to use when they mean "antibacterial." So this collection of images is my passive-aggressive way to undermine it's usage. You can help by using these images for your talks.

Guide to anti-infective drugs, for Emergency Room lobbies. This is an updated version that adds Ebola to list of viruses. Details at colinpurrington.c....

Colin Purrington -

The CDC has a "Get Smart about Antibiotics" campaign in which they use "antibiotics" probably 10 million times. This image shows one page modified to use "antibacterials" instead. As a thought experiment, how many people will answer "Viruses" to "Antibacterials fight infections caused by..."? I'm guessing pretty darn close to zero. That's why the word is so much better than "antibiotics."

Venn guide to pills that kill things. Note that the true, original meaning of antibiotics was a compound that killed life. So antibiotics = anti-infective. That's still the lay definition. But many scientists and physicians now use the word to refer to "antibacterials." They shouldn't. They should say "antibacterials". Why? To avoid confusing everyone? When should they start using "antibacterials"? Um, now would be great. colinpurrington.c...

Google Trends searches for antibacterial soap and antibiotic soap. The public _expects_ soaps to be labeled antiviral or antibacterial. Similarly, the public assumes that if a drug is antibacterial, doctors would call it that. So when doctors call a drug antibiotic, they assume the doctor is implying that the drug treats more than just bacteria. That's why patients lobby for "antibiotics" so vigorously -- they are wonder drugs, good for anything that infects us.

Definitions of antibiotic and antibacterial. The former is a broad, vague term. It really sucks. Antibacterial specific.