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Global Health
January 19, 2016

WHO Survey Reveals Misconceptions About Antibiotic Resistance

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Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(3):242. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18462

Confusion abounds regarding what antibiotic resistance is and what can be done to prevent the problem from increasing, according to a new worldwide survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) (

Among key findings of the survey, two-thirds of about 10 000 respondents from 12 countries said they were aware of antibiotic resistance and knew it could affect them and their families—a promising finding. However, a number of misconceptions were also revealed, suggesting the devil is in the details. About one-third of people thought it was okay to stop taking an antibiotic once they started feeling better, rather than taking the medicine for the entire time prescribed, and about three-quarters of respondents thought “antibiotic resistance” meant that people were becoming resistant to the antibiotics, when in fact it is the bacteria causing the infections that are becoming resistant.

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