Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to human and animal health today.

What is AMR?

AMR occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria become resistant to antimicrobial medicines such as antibiotics.




(Narrator) Antibiotics have saved millions of lives since the 1940s when they were first introduced.


They’ve reduced conditions like pneumonia and infections caused by staph.


Cancer treatments or surgeries like C-sections and joint replacements are common place, because antibiotics can prevent infections that could otherwise follow.


But imagine a future where antibiotics can’t keep us safe.


This is a real problem and it’s called antimicrobial resistance or AMR.


AMR happens when disease causing bad bacteria become resistant to the antibiotics used to kill them.


Taking antibiotics destroys a lot of bad bacteria; however, a few resistant bacteria can survive.


These can multiply and spread to other people.


The main cause of AMR is antibiotic use, so while antibiotics are essential to modern medicine, the more antibiotics Australians use - and we use a lot - the faster resistant bacteria develop.


Resistant infections are already causing some deaths.


In a worst-case scenario there would be no effective antibiotics left to treat infections.


The good news is that AMR can be slowed if we all work to use less antibiotics.


For a start, only take antibiotics that a doctor prescribes for your condition and follow your doctor’s directions.


Antibiotics only fight bacteria.


They'll do nothing against viruses; in fact antibiotics can give you side effects such as rash, upset stomach or diarrhoea.


You don’t want to risk these if the antibiotics won’t help, so only use antibiotics as directed.


Don’t share antibiotics and save them for another time.


Ask your doctor how long you need to take the antibiotics as you might not need the full pack.


We can also cut down on antibiotic use by preventing infections spreading in the first place.


Regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and keeping your vaccinations up to date, are simple but powerful ways to keep everyone healthy.


For more information visit or speak to your doctor together we can put the brakes on AMR, keeping valuable antibiotic treatments for generations to come.


You can help reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance – find out how

General public

Guidance for everyone

For animal owners

Guidance for pet owners

For general practice

Guidance for GPs and primary health care professionals

For hospitals

Guidance for health professionals and hospital employees

For aged care

Guidance for health professionals and aged care employees

For pharmacy

Guidance for pharmacists and pharmacy employees

For veterinary practice

Guidance for veterinarians and veterinary practice employees

For agriculture and industry

Guidance for farmers and workers in the agricultural industry


World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 18–24 November - Join the fight

Join the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – use antibiotics as directed so they remain effective in treating serious disease.

AMR resources

Australia’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy – 2020 and beyond

The Australian Government has released Australia's next national antimicrobial resistance strategy, following endorsement by the Council of Australian Governments.

Are you interested in AMR research and activities?

View the Activity and research directory to find out what is being done to minimise the threat of AMR.

You can also submit your own activity or research project related to AMR.

30 million

antibiotic prescriptions to non-hospital patients in 2015

8th highest

antibiotic use compared to 28 European countries


of Australian population given at least one antibiotic in 2015