High Rates of Antibiotic Resistance Found Among Children With Urinary Tract Infections: Study

Children given antibiotics are more likely to develop resistance to the drugs used to treat common urinary tract infections, according to the findings of a new study. 

Researchers found drug resistant E coli urinary tract infections are becoming more prevalent and more resistant to antibiotics used to treat them, placing children who contract the infections at a greater risk. The findings were published online March 15, in the journal The BMJ.

Authors of the report combed through research databases Medline, Embase, Cochrane and ISI Web of Knowledge to identify studies of this kind, finding more than 3,000. Overall they focused on 58 observational studies published up to October 2015, that investigated nearly 80,000 E coli isolates in the urine.

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A review of the studies found that E coli bacteria from urinary tract infections in children who received previous prescriptions for antibiotics were more likely to be resistant to antibiotics. The resistance lasted for up to six months in some children.

Researchers are concerned, since urinary tract infections (UTI) are common among the population and rising. One in ten girls and one in 30 boys will develop a urinary tract infection by the time they reach the age of 16.

Researchers found countries outside of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had a pooled antibiotic resistance of up to 80% for ampicillin, one of the most common antibiotics in the world, 60% for co-amoxiclav, nearly 27% for ciprofloxacin, and 17% for nitrofurantoin.

Among countries inside of the OECD the pooled prevalence of antibiotic resistance was lower, but still relatively high; 53% for ampicillin, nearly 24% for trimethoprim, eight percent for co-amoxiclav, two percent for ciprofloxacin, and one  percent for nitrofurantoin.

The high prevalence of antibiotic resistance in countries outside the OECD may be explained due to the common availability of antibiotics over-the-counter in those countries, researchers noted.

Antibiotic Resistance Concerns

The high prevalence of use of antibiotics may render some of the critical drugs ineffective as routine first line treatments for urinary tract infections.

In 2013, the CDC revealed antibiotic-resistant superbugs were increasing in the U.S. Earlier this month the CDC released a report revealing one-in-seven hospital-acquired infections are antibiotic-resistant.

Drug-resistant antibiotics are a global concern, a British study estimates nearly 10 million deaths every year will be attributable to antibiotic resistant infections by the year 2050, unless drastic measures are taken.

Other research has shown doctor’s overprescribing habits of antibiotics have contributed to the rise of antibiotic resistant drugs. Estimates reveal doctors offer antibiotics two-thirds of the time for antiviral infections that can’t be treated with antibiotics.


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