Antibiotic resistance widespread in child infections – study

About 50% of urinary tract infections of children involve bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, according to a new analysis.

The findings suggest there may be widespread under-reporting of antibiotic resistance, British experts said yesterday.

They come from an analysis of 58 observational studies in 26 countries involving 77,000 samples of E.coli, responsible for 80% of child UTIs.

Half of all samples were resistant to amoxicillin, a third to co-trimoxazole and 25% to trimethoprim within countries in the club of wealthy nations, the OECD.

Writing in The BMJ, the researchers said rates of resistance were higher in non-OECD countries.

Researcher Dr Céire Costelloe, of Imperial College, London, said: "The results also suggest previous antibiotic use increased the subsequent risk of E coli resistance to that particular antibiotic – for up to six months after treatment.”

Professor Colin Garner, chief executive of Antibiotic Research UK, warned that E.coli can transfer genes to other species of antibiotic.

He said: "This latest research showing that up to 50% of children may be resistant to antibiotics is extremely worrying.

"I believe there may be considerable under-reporting of antibiotic resistant infections so that we don’t know the true level of these both in the community and in hospitals."

Global prevalence of antibiotic resistance in paediatric urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli and association with routine use of antibiotics in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 16 March 2016 [abstract]

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