71 Reducing inappropriate antibiotic use among infants through an educational intervention targeting new parents

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Prescribing antibiotics for common non-serious or inaccurately diagnosed respiratory tract infections in childhood is common, especially among infants. Most infections are self-limiting. However, symptoms of infections often lead to treatment with antibiotics which increases the risk for unbeneficial treatment with no effect other than side effect(s). Studies have shown that parental knowledge about infections and antibiotics is limited and that general practitioners experience requirements for antibiotic from the parents. Maternal and child health nurses (MCHN) in Denmark visit all infants 4–5 times during the first year of life and provide counseling and guidance for new parents. Information about infections and antibiotics is not included in the visits, so far.


This study investigated whether education of new parents through MCHN could increase parents’ knowledge about infections and antibiotics and reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics among infants.


Parents of infants born in 2017 in three municipals in the Capital Region participated in the intervention. A booklet with information about bacteria, viruses and antibiotics was developed for new parents as target audience. Furthermore, MCHN in the three municipalities participated in a tailored seminar – organized by microbiological experts – to achieve the latest knowledge about infections and antibiotics among children. The parents received a baseline questionnaire at six months of age and a follow-up questionnaire at ten months of age measuring their knowledge about infections and antibiotics. In between the two questionnaires– at eight month of age – the MCHN informed/educated the parents about bacterial infections and viral infections and the appropriate use of antibiotics.


In April 2018, 450 parents had received a baseline questionnaire (response rate 70%) and 123 parents had received a follow-up questionnaire (response rate 60%). The study is ongoing, but the first preliminary results indicate that knowledge about infections and antibiotics among parents has increased significantly at some indicators. However, detailed results will be available at the time of the conference.


This study will elucidate whether education of parents is a strategy to increase the understanding of infections and antibiotics. An increased understanding of infections and antibiotics among parent is expected to decrease the unnecessary requirements for antibiotics for children with self-limiting infections.

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