Antibiotics are becoming ineffective against childhood infections: New study

Antibiotics are becoming ineffective against childhood infections: New study

A recent study on antibiotics conducted by the University of Sydney has reported an alarming phenomenon in the treatment of common infections in children and babies globally. According to the study, antibiotics are becoming ineffective in children due to resistance. This is alarming and can cause a rise in the cases of common infections in children.

The research was published in Lancet South East Asia along with relevant data from South East Asian countries. This study included antibiotics recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), and they showed less than 50 percent effectiveness in the treatment of common infections like pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis.

Why antibiotics are not effective against childhood infections?

Antibiotic resistance is a matter of concern (Image via Unsplash/Hal Gatewood)
Antibiotic resistance is a matter of concern (Image via Unsplash/Hal Gatewood)

Study lead author Dr. Phoebe Williams, infectious disease specialist at the University’s School of Public Health and Sydney Infectious Diseases Institute, said:

“We are not immune to this problem – the burden of antimicrobial resistance is on our doorstep. Antibiotic resistance is rising more rapidly than we realize. We urgently need new solutions to stop invasive multidrug-resistant infections and the needless deaths of thousands of children each year.”

She added:

“Antibiotic clinical focus on adults and too often children and newborns are left out. That means we have very limited options and data for new treatments.”

Almost 570,000 deaths occur among children every year due to sepsis, out of which a significant number can be attributed to antibiotic resistance.

Various antibiotics were considered in this study, and alarming results were found. Ceftriaxone, commonly used to treat various infections in children, was found to be effective in only one out of three cases of newborn sepsis or meningitis. Another drug, gentamicin, was found to be less effective in the treatment of infections.

The research emphasized 6,648 bacterial isolates from 11 countries. They also collected data from 86 publications.

Senior author Paul Turner, director of the Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, and a professor at the University of Oxford, said:

“This study reveals important problems regarding the availability of effective antibiotics to treat serious infections in children. It also highlights the ongoing need for high-quality laboratory data to monitor the AMR situation, which will facilitate timely changes to be made to treatment guidelines.”

Extensive research is required to understand the gravity of the situation and find ways to combat resistance to common antibiotics. This study should be a wake-up call for everyone in the health and medical community, according to the researchers who contributed to this study.

Indranil Biswas is a nutritionist and personal trainer with a diploma in dietetics and personal training with a specialization in sports nutrition and strength training.

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