Unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics to healthy/asymptomatic school-age carriers of potentially pathogenic bacteria

Mirjana Kostić, Vladimir Bedeković, Biserka Bastijančić-Kokić, Tomislav Lauc


Objectives: To re-draw attention to the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics.

Methods: We monitored nasopharyngeal colonization by 3 potentially pathogenic bacteria, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae type b in 81 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years who attended the same primary school. The children’s health status was also monitored, without using antimicrobial treatment for healthy/asymptomatic carriers. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected on 6 occasions during autumn months, from mid-September to mid-December 2016. The children who fell ill during the study were treated at the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Sisters of Mercy University Hospital Center, Zagreb, Croatia.

Results: Four hundred and sixty-three  nasopharyngeal swabs were collected. Each child had at least one positive swab result. Bacterial colonization with Streptococcus pyogenes had the highest colonization rate. During the study, 83% of the children were healthy/asymptomatic carriers with no clinical signs of disease,  while 17% became ill. The statistical results showed that the increase in all examined bacteria was statistically significant.

Conclusions:  Our  study results showed that positive bacterial findings in nasopharyngeal swabs from clinically healthy carriers were not an indication for antibiotic therapy.

Saudi Med J 2019; Vol. 40 (4): 405-408
doi: 10.15537/smj.2019.4.24004

How to cite this article:
Kostić M, Bedeković V, Bastijančić-Kokić B, Lauc T. Unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics to healthy/asymptomatic school-age carriers of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Saudi Med J. 2019 Apr;40(4):405-408. doi: 10.15537/smj.2019.4.24004.


child; nasopharynx; bacterial pathogens; colonisation; therapeutics

Full Text:



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