Children at increased risk of drug-resistant infections after taking antibiotics

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Children at increased risk of drug-resistant infections after taking antibiotics

Children who are prescribed antibiotics are 12 times more at risk of acquiring drug-resistant infections in the weeks afterwards, according to a leading public health figure.

Public Health England medical director Paul Cosford told the Science and Technology Committee this week that the risk is greater for younger people than it is for adults.

“We’ve got good evidence that if you or I have a course of antibiotics now, within three months our risk is three times to get a resistant infection of some sort because we’ve had the antibiotics affecting all the organisms in our bodies. If you’re a child you’re 12 times more likely to get a resistant infection in the three months after a course of antibiotics.”

Whilst acknowledging that the drugs do a have part to play, Cosford stressed this had to be done correctly – and compared antibiotics to “using a pesticide in a rich woodland.” At the same time as tackling the harmful infection the drugs will destroy useful bacteria in the gut.

The information was taken from two major reviews on the routine-use of antibiotics in primary care, and he said the results underline the importance of continued efforts to decrease prescription rates.

“There is a growing body of evidence that taking antibiotics makes it more likely that your next infection will be a resistant one, so prudent use of these life-saving medicines is essential.”

One review looked at children who had urinary tract infections and found that they were more than 13 times more likely to have contracted drug-resistant strains if they had been given antibiotics in the previous six months.

The 2014 Longitude Prize survey of antibiotics in primary care revealed that 90% of British GPs felt pressure from patients to give out the drugs, and almost half had done so knowing it would not treat the patient’s condition.

Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Edinburgh University told The Guardian that the consequences of antibiotic resistance required a global plan, just as with climate change. However he added that, “In terms of the threat to my own health, and that of my children, and my family’s health, I am much more concerned about antimicrobial resistance than I am about climate change.”

Randox is supporting the battle against antibiotic resistance. Our wide range of related products includes our Respiratory Multiplex Array which tests 22 common virus and bacteria pathogens can detect whether an antibiotic should be prescribed.

John Lamont, Chief Scientist at Randox Laboratories, whose team developed the molecular test, commented;

“Current diagnostic testing for respiratory infections takes at least 36 hours to confirm the nature of an infection, and they cannot name and categorise infections as bacterial or viral in the way that our respiratory test can. C-reactive protein tests, for example, that are currently in use can only indicate whether a bacterial infection is likely. We need more than just guess work to combat the antibiotic resistance pandemic.”

For more information, please visit http://www.randox.com/respiratory-multiplex-array/ or contact RandoxPR@randoxcom


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