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. 2019 Sep 12;8(3):147.
doi: 10.3390/antibiotics8030147.

Global Internet Data on the Interest in Antibiotics and Probiotics Generated by Google Trends

Free PMC article

Global Internet Data on the Interest in Antibiotics and Probiotics Generated by Google Trends

Kamiński Mikołaj et al. Antibiotics (Basel). .
Free PMC article

Erratum in


Data from the Google search engine enables the assessment of Google users' interest in a specific topic. We analyzed the world trends in searches associated with the topics "antibiotics" and "probiotics" from January 2004 to June 2019, using Google Trends. We analyzed the yearly trends and seasonal variation. We performed an R-Spearman rank correlation analysis of the relative search volume (RSV) of the topics in 2015 with antibiotic consumption, health expenditure per capita, and the 2015 Human Development Index (HDI) of the country. The mean interest in the topic of antibiotics was equal to RSV = 57.5 ± 17.9, rising by 3.7 RSV/year (6.5%/year), while that of probiotics was RSV = 14.1 ± 7.9, which rose by 1.7 RSV/year (12.1%). The seasonal amplitude of antibiotics was equal to RSV = 9.8, while probiotics was RSV = 2.7. The seasonal peaks for both topics were observed in the cold months. The RSV of probiotics, but not antibiotics, was associated with antibiotic consumption (Rs = 0.35; p < 0.01), health expenditure (Rs = 0.41; p < 0.001), and HDI (Rs = 0.44; p < 0.001). Google users' interest in antibiotic- and probiotic-related information increases from year to year, and peaks in cold months. The interest in probiotic-related information might be associated with antibiotic consumption, health expenditure, and the development status of the Google users' country.

Keywords: Google Trends; Internet; antibiotics; antimicrobial resistance; probiotics.

Conflict of interest statement

I.Ł. and W.M. are the foundation shareholders of Sanprobi, the manufacturer and distributor of the probiotics. M.K. received remuneration from this company, and the content of this study was not subjected to any constraints by this company.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Relative search volume (RSV) of topics “antibiotic” and “probiotic” worldwide from January 2004 through June 2019, and the time series decomposition analysis by Loess. The x-axes of all of the mini-figures are the same periods. The y-axes are expressed in RSV. The mini-figure “observed” presents the course over time of the RSV of the topic. The mini-figure “trend” presents the trend over the analyzed period. The mini-figure “seasonal” presents the seasonal component of the time series “observed”. The mini-figure “irregular” presents the variability, independent from the main trend and seasonal variation.
Figure 2
Figure 2
The relative interest of the topic “probiotics” worldwide. Gray color represents countries with low search volume, which were not included in the analysis. The list of the countries and values are available in Dataset in file “Figure 2 & Figure S1.xls”.

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