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Prev Med. 2002 Mar;34(3):346-52.

Antibiotic use and upper respiratory infections: a survey of knowledge, attitudes, and experience in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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Marshfield Medical Research Foundation and Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449, USA.



Public attitudes and expectations contribute to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic resistance. This study assessed knowledge, attitudes, and experiences regarding antibiotic use for respiratory infection or illness.


Random-digit-dialing telephone surveys of adults and parents of children <5 years old were conducted in Wisconsin and Minnesota during 1999.


The survey was completed by 405 adults and 275 parents of children <5 years old. The median age was 32 years for parents and 50 years for adults. Seven percent of parents and 17% of adults believed that antibiotics are never or almost never necessary for bronchitis. More than 70% in each group believed that antibiotics are needed for green or yellow nasal drainage, and nearly half of respondents believed that they knew whether an antibiotic was needed before seeing a physician. Exposure to multiple information sources on antibiotic resistance in the past 6 months was independently associated with a knowledge score greater than or equal to the median for nine questions.


The general public has misconceptions regarding indications for antibiotic use, and this may contribute to inappropriate prescribing. Providing multiple and varied antibiotic-related informational messages may increase knowledge of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and decrease patient demand for antibiotics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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