First-of-its-kind-survey reveals gaps in European healthcare workers’ knowledge and attitudes about antibiotics

  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
  • 18 Nov 2019

  • curated by Priscilla Lynch
  • Medical News
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Knowledge and awareness of antibiotic resistance and related issues is generally high among European healthcare workers, according to the first European survey to examine attitudes and behaviours in relation to antibiotic resistance in this group.

However, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)-commissioned study also illustrated important knowledge gaps.

To test knowledge about antibiotic resistance related to human health, the 18,365 survey participants were asked seven true/false questions, and only 58% were able to answer all seven correctly. There was considerable variation in scores, depending on country and profession.    

Nonetheless, 97% of respondents correctly identified that antibiotics are not effective against colds and flu, which is significantly higher than knowledge among the general public.

Perceived knowledge about antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance was high, with more than 89% of respondents acknowledging the connection between prescribing, dispensing and administering of antibiotics, and the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

However, among healthcare workers with direct patient or public involvement, 25% reported that they do not have easy access to guidance on infection management, and 33% do not have easy access to materials for advice on prudent antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. 

The study was published to mark European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November.