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Antibiotics are not always the cure
When patients with infection symptoms go to see their doctor, they often expect a prescription for antibiotics. Many infections, however, are of viral origin. In viral illnesses antibiotics are not only ineffective but also contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, which is an increasing and serious public health problem.
An easy-to-use diagnostic test that assists you to differentiate between bacterial and viral infections and provides an analytically accurate and immediate result during the patient?s visit can effectively guide you on appropriate antibiotic use.


Diagnostic dilemma
Primary health care professionals are often confronted with the question whether a patient?s symptoms are related to a bacterial infection or a viral infection, and whether the patient really needs antibiotics or not.

The dilemma of distinguishing between bacterial and viral infections together with the lack of diagnostic tools, patient pressure and time constraints,1-5 may lead to an unnecessary antibiotic prescription. About 80-90% of antibiotics are prescribed in primary care, and up to 80% of these are used to treat acute respiratory
tract infections.6-9 It is estimated that 50% of all antibiotic prescriptions in primary care are unnecessary.6-9

Although most acute respiratory tract infections are caused by viruses and although antibiotics offer at best a modest benefit, 10 they are frequently used to treat these conditions.11 Inappropriate and excessive use of antibiotics is acknowledged as a main cause of antibiotic resistance.4,12,13

The lack of diagnostic tools makes it difficult for the prescriber to have the right arguments to convince the patient and himself that antibiotics are not needed in the individual case1


Antibiotic resistance and primary care

Antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious public health problems12,14,15 and increasing at an alarming rate in primary care settings, too, making daily treatment decisions more challenging.16


Facts about antibiotic resistance

  • many previously effective antibiotics are now ineffective14,16,17
  • new bacterial strains have emerged that are resistant to several antibiotics at the same time16,17
  • excessive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics is also driving up resistance problems6,18,19
  • antibiotic resistance is causing a heavy cost on the society.21

The use of antibiotics in primary care varies considerably between countries, which is unlikely to be caused by differences in frequency of bacterial infections.20 A correlation between a high use of antibiotics and higher rate of antibiotic resistance has been observed.13,15 Nations worldwide have developed strategies to fight antibiotic resistance and to keep those antibiotics working which are still effective.12,14,21 Containment of inappropriate and excessive antibiotic use
may contribute to slowing down or even reversing the development of antibiotic resistance.22,23

The WHO claims that inadequate access to appropriate nearpatient
diagnostic tools can also be a driving factor for prescribing antibiotics when not clearly indicated.12 A diagnostic tool providing an objective and immediate test
result that confirms or rules out viral infection could have an important role in reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics.


Overuse of antibiotics is jeopardizing the usefulness of essential drugs. Decreasing inappropriate antibiotic use is the best way to control resistance14


C-reactive protein
Measurement of C-reactive protein (CRP) is helpful in the clinical management of a patient with symptoms of an infection.