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Thus, as soon as patients receive over-the-counter antibiotics and self-treating self-limiting illnesses with drugs, such as upper-respiratory tract infections without complications, they are likely to suggest that the antibiotic was effective, and self-medicate in the future. The links to these advertised sites were also investigated. Further education aimed at patients and the community, as well as increased regulation and application of existing guidelines, can help control this potentially vast reservoir of antibiotics. The vendors identified in this study do not appear to be fearful of prosecution. Several studies suggest that antibiotic prescribing for viral illnesses, respiratory tract infections being one example, has declined in the last decade. This study was not meant to be an exhaustive census of these sites, primarily because with the questionable legality of some of these practices, these sites rapidly come and go. Specifically, we classified a single course of azithromycin as 6 pills, 250 mg each. Second, there was a considerable repetition in the Web sites, which made an accurate determination of unique vendors from the 184 different sites difficult, an effort that may have let to some error. Finally, and potentially the biggest limitation on the importance of this study, is that we were unable to describe how this Internet-based purchasing strategy was used to purchase people with antibiotics in the United States. This practice also occurs in the United States even though the United States regulates the acquisition of antibiotics, which will be limited by prescription only. This decrease was interpreted as evidence that the full use of antibiotics was also reduced. Because of its effect on morbidity and mortality, antibiotic resistance is considered a threat to US health and national security by the Institute of Medicine and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Our study is the first to document this phenomenon, and we describe the mechanism for purchasing antibiotics online; future studies will need to document the scope of antibiotics purchased through this mechanism to better understand its direct implications for antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics serve a useful therapeutic purpose in treating and controlling the effects of infectious agents. To examine the types of Web sites and vendors dispensing antibiotics on the Internet, we conducted a search using 2 major search engines (Google and Yahoo) and the key words "purchase antibiotics without prescription" and "online (English only). Third, we categorized the classes of antibiotics available for purchase.