Respiratory tract infections (RTI) are more commonly caused by viral pathogens in children than in adults. Surprisingly, little is known about antibiotic use in children as compared to adults with RTI. This prospective study aimed to determine antibiotic misuse in children and adults with RTI, using an expert panel reference standard, in order to prioritise the target age population for antibiotic stewardship interventions. We recruited children and adults who presented at the emergency department or were hospitalised with clinical presentation of RTI in The Netherlands and Israel. A panel of three experienced physicians adjudicated a reference standard diagnosis (i.e. bacterial or viral infection) for all the patients using all available clinical and laboratory information, including a 28-day follow-up assessment. The cohort included 284 children and 232 adults with RTI (median age, 1.3 years and 64.5 years, respectively). The proportion of viral infections was larger in children than in adults (209(74%) versus 89(38%), p < 0.001). In case of viral RTI, antibiotics were prescribed (i.e. overuse) less frequently in children than in adults (77/ 209 (37%) versus 74/89 (83%), p < 0.001). One (1%) child and three (2%) adults with bacterial infection were not treated with antibiotics (i.e. underuse); all were mild cases. This international, prospective study confirms major antibiotic overuse in patients with RTI. Viral infection is more common in children, but antibiotic overuse is more frequent in adults with viral RTI. Together, these findings support the need for effective interventions to decrease antibiotic overuse in RTI patients of all ages.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10096-018-03454-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/115499
Journal European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases: an international journal on pathogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology, therapy, and prevention of infectious diseases
Citation
van Houten, C.B., Cohen, A., Engelhard, D, Hays, J.P, Karlsson, R, & Moore, E. (2019). Antibiotic misuse in respiratory tract infections in children and adultsa prospective, multicentre study (TAILORED Treatment). European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases: an international journal on pathogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology, therapy, and prevention of infectious diseases, 38(3), 505–514. doi:10.1007/s10096-018-03454-2