Trust The Evidence

A Million more Antibiotic Prescriptions than expected in December

15 March 2023

Tales from the Front Line

Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson

“How’s it going,” I say.

“It’s manic, there are hundreds on the phone, and every child with a sore throat is coming into base,” she replied. “And I’ve used more antibiotics this month than the whole year.”


Sore throat is a common primary care presentation and can occasionally lead to scarlet fever, which usually affects young children – but not always. It presents with a sore throat, high fever and a skin rash; it can usually be treated with an antibiotic (penicillin) targeted to the causative pathogen – strep A. However, in rare cases, scarlet fever can lead to an invasive infection which can cause life-threatening complications. 

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