Background: This study aimed to examine public knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding antibiotic use in the community of Hong Kong.
Methods: A cross-sectional phone survey was conducted in 2006 on people aged 18 or older who were uninstitutionalized Hong Kong residents regarding antibiotic use for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs).
Results: A total of 1,002 respondents participated in the survey and 77%, 72% and 85% of the respondents had adequate knowledge, appropriate attitude/belief and behavior on antibiotic use, respectively. Some respondents (26%) believed that antibiotic was needed for symptoms of URTIs if they felt sick enough to seek medical care and 8% would share antibiotic with family members. Eighty-nine (9%) respondents had acquired antibiotic without a prescription. During the most recent episode of URTI, 78% had completed the antibiotic treatment course. Stepwise multiple logistic showed that higher education level and family income were associated with adequate patient knowledge. Male gender was a predictor of poor behavior on antibiotic use. Appropriate belief was associated with tertiary level of education or above.
Conclusions: Over 70% of the present cohort showed adequate knowledge, appropriate attitudes/beliefs and behavior on antibiotic use. Despite a small percent (8%-9%) of respondents reportedly shared and/or self-prescribed antibiotics, this would translate into the practice of half a million people in Hong Kong. Public education programmes should therefore be developed, targeting specific areas of misconceptions, misuse of antibiotic and vulnerable groups at risk of improper use of antibiotics.