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Health Commun. 2015;30(3):309-14. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2014.943634. Epub 2014 Aug 14.

Antibiotic resistance: a primer and call to action.

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a Department of Communication Arts & Sciences , Pennsylvania State University.


During the past century, discoveries of microorganisms as causes of infections and antibiotics as effective therapeutic agents have contributed to significant gains in public health in many parts of the world. Health agencies worldwide are galvanizing attention toward antibiotic resistance, which is a major threat to public health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013; World Health Organization, 2014). Some life scientists believe that we are approaching the post-antibiotic age (Davies & Davies, 2010). The growing threat of antimicrobial resistance is fueled by complex factors with biological, behavioral, and societal aspects. This primer provides an overview of antibiotic resistance and its growing burden on public health, the biological and behavioral mechanisms that increase antibiotic resistance, and examples of where health communication scholars can contribute to efforts to make our current antibiotic drugs last as long as possible. In addition, we identify compelling challenges for current communication theories and practices.

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