Journal Article

A survey of public knowledge and awareness related to antibiotic use and resistance in Sweden

Malin André, Åsa Vernby, Johanna Berg and Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 65, issue 6, pages 1292-1296
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
A survey of public knowledge and awareness related to antibiotic use and resistance in Sweden

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To examine the level of knowledge about antibiotic treatment and awareness of antibiotic resistance among the general public in Sweden.


A quantitative, cross-sectional interview study based on a structured questionnaire used during telephone interviews. The sample comprised 1000 randomly selected individuals aged 21–80 years throughout Sweden. Demographic data as well as level of agreement with various statements concerning antibiotics and antibiotic use were provided by the respondents.


The response rate was 74.7%. Of the respondents, 19.1% agreed that antibiotics cure common colds more quickly; this belief was higher in those who had not previously received antibiotics. A high proportion, 80.7%, agreed that bacteria could become resistant to antibiotics. Trust in doctors was high, and significantly more respondents reported trusting the doctor not prescribing an antibiotic, 87.0%, than the doctor prescribing an antibiotic, 81.0%. The respondents showed some confusion surrounding the terms ‘bacteria’ and ‘viruses’, and the meaning of these in relation to the prescribing decision.


The high level of trust in restrictive prescribing as well as the awareness of antibiotic resistance expressed by the Swedish public should be recognized by health professionals and utilized in future campaigns.

Keywords: antibiotic prescribing; antibiotic usage; population-based study; public health

Journal Article.  2701 words. 

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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