Incidence, healthcare-seeking behaviours, antibiotic use and natural history of common infection syndromes in England: Results from the Bug Watch community cohort study

Catherine M Smith *, Laura J Shallcross , Peter Dutey-Magni, Anne Conolly , Christopher Fuller , Suzanne Hill , Arnoupe Jhass , Franziska Marcheselli, Susan Michie, Jennifer S Mindell , Matthew J Ridd, Georgios Tsakos , Andrew C Hayward , Ellen B Fragaszy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Better information on the typical course and management of acute common infections in the community could inform antibiotic stewardship campaigns. We aimed to investigate the incidence, management, and natural history of a range of infection syndromes (respiratory, gastrointestinal, mouth/dental, skin/soft tissue, urinary tract, and eye).

Methods
Bug Watch was an online prospective community cohort study of the general population in England (2018–2019) with weekly symptom reporting for 6 months. We combined symptom reports into infection syndromes, calculated incidence rates, described the proportion leading to healthcare-seeking behaviours and antibiotic use, and estimated duration and severity.

Results
The cohort comprised 873 individuals with 23,111 person-weeks follow-up. The mean age was 54 years and 528 (60%) were female. We identified 1422 infection syndromes, comprising 40,590 symptom reports. The incidence of respiratory tract infection syndromes was two per person year; for all other categories it was less than one. 194/1422 (14%) syndromes led to GP (or dentist) consultation and 136/1422 (10%) to antibiotic use. Symptoms usually resolved within a week and the third day was the most severe.

Conclusions
Most people reported managing their symptoms without medical consultation. Interventions encouraging safe self-management across a range of acute infection syndromes could decrease pressure on primary healthcare services and support targets for reducing antibiotic prescribing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • antibiotic stewardship
  • common infections
  • incidence
  • healthcare-seeking behaviour
  • community cohort studies

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Incidence, healthcare-seeking behaviours, antibiotic use and natural history of common infection syndromes in England: Results from the Bug Watch community cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this