Antibiotics May Be Linked to Serious Infections in Children03/07/14
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotics prescribed
in doctors' offices are linked with many cases of serious bacterial
infections that can cause severe diarrhea in children, according to
a new study.
Researchers found that 71 percent of cases of
Clostridium difficileinfection among American children aged
1 to 17 occurred shortly after they took antibiotics that were
prescribed in doctors' offices to treat other conditions.
Most of the children received antibiotics for problems such as
ear, sinus or upper respiratory infections. Previous research has
shown that at least 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed to
children in doctors' offices are for respiratory infections, most
of which do not require antibiotics, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention researchers said in an agency news
About 17,000 children aged 1 to 17 get
C. difficileinfections every year, according to the CDC.
This study found no difference in the incidence of
C. difficileinfections among boys and girls. It did show,
however, that white children and those aged 12 months to 23 months
are at greatest risk for such infections.
While the study showed an association between antibiotic use and
C. difficileinfections, it did not prove a cause-and-effect
The study was published online March 3 in the journal
Taking antibiotics is the top risk factor for developing
C. difficileinfections for both children and adults, the
researchers said. Antibiotics can alter or kill beneficial bacteria
that help protect against infections, which means patients can get
C. difficilethey pick up from contaminated surfaces or
"Improved antibiotic prescribing is critical to protect the health of our nation's children," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in the news release. "When antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly, our children are needlessly put at risk for health problems including C. difficileinfection and dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections."
Parents should not demand that doctors prescribe antibiotics for
their children, and doctors should follow antibiotic prescribing
guidelines, according to the CDC.
The CDC is seeking funding for a program it believes could cut
outpatient prescribing of antibiotics by up to 20 percent and
C. difficileinfections by 50 percent in five years. That
reduction in infections could save 20,000 lives and more than $2
billion in health care costs, according to the news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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