Public knowledge, attitudes and behavior on antibiotic use: a telephone survey in Hong Kong

Infection. 2008 Mar;36(2):153-7. doi: 10.1007/s15010-007-7214-5. Epub 2008 Jan 29.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Telephone


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents