Acute Conditions in General Practice

Researchers in the research group:

Lars Bjerrum (research group leader)
Marjukka Mäkelä
Gloria Cordoba
Anne Holm
Laura Trolle Saust
Rune Aabenhus
Anni B. S. Nielsen

Acute conditions are the cause of almost half of all contacts in general practice. The majority of reasons for encounter are due to symptoms of infectious diseases. Approximately 2/3 comes with symptoms of respiratory infections and 1/3 with symptoms of infection in the urogenital tract, skin or eyes.

About 90% of all antibiotics consumed in Denmark are prescribed by a General Practitioner (GP). Overuse of antibiotics is the main reason for the increasing prevalence of resistant bacteria. In Denmark, the consumption of antibiotics has increased by about 1/3 since 2000.

Today, some bacteria are resistant to all antibiotics, so-called pan-resistant bacteria, and we have no effective antibiotic for treatment of such infections. WHO describes the problem due to the increasing antibiotic resistance as one of the major global public health threats, and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has estimated that there is an excess mortality of approx. 25,000 people a year in Europe alone due to resistant bacteria.

There is a need for more research in order to reduce the inappropriate overuse of antibiotics. Particularly there is a need to improve the quality of the diagnostic process to distinguish between infections caused by a virus or bacteria. The research group focuses on methods to improve the diagnostic process and treatment of patients with infectious diseases. The aim is to avoid inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and to identify which patients may benefit from antibiotic treatment.

Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are employed, data from GPs and patients is collected through self-practice registrations (audits), prescription databases, national registers, questionnaires to patients and interviews). Internationally, the project group collaborates with researches from several other countries, including Norway, Sweden, Holland, UK, Spain, Lithuania, Russia, and Argentina. The network was responsible for the international EU-project HAPPY AUDIT, coordinated by the research group leader.