Changes in antibiotic prescribing for children after a community-wide campaign.

Overuse of antibiotics has contributed to microbial resistance, compromising the treatment of bacterial infections. Very high levels (>50%) of antibiotic resistance among invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae have been documented in Knox County, Tennessee.


To determine the effectiveness of a community-wide intervention aimed at reducing inappropriate antibiotic use among children.


The Knox County Health Department led a multifaceted year-long campaign (May 1997 through April 1998) aimed at decreasing unnecessary antibiotic use among children. Tennessee's 3 other major urban counties (Shelby, Hamilton, and Davidson) did not conduct similar campaigns and served as controls. Evaluation included white and black children (aged <15 years) enrolled in Tennessee's Medicaid Managed Care Program in the 4 study counties, representing 36% of the study counties' children (464 200 person-years observed).


Educational efforts were directed toward health care practitioners (primarily via peer leader presentations) and to the parents of young children and the public (primarily via printed materials).


The intervention-attributable effect on antibiotic use, defined as the excess percentage change in oral antibiotic prescription rates in Knox County between the 12-month preintervention and postintervention periods, relative to that of control counties.


Antibiotic prescription rates declined 19% and 8% among Knox County and control county children, respectively, yielding an 11% intervention-attributable decline (95% confidence interval, 8%-14%; P<.001). The intervention-attributable decrease in prescription rates was greatest among children aged 1 to less than 5 years (among white children, 8% [P<.001]; among black children, 18% [P<.001]).


A community-wide educational intervention reduced antibiotic prescription levels among children in Knox County.


KindergeneeskundeEducational gatheringsEducational literature distributionsPatient directed interventionsBehandeling medicatie



Perz JF
Craig AS
Coffey CS
Jorgensen DM
Mitchel E
Hall S
Schaffner W
Griffin MR