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Antibiotic resistance high in children with UTIs

16 March 2016

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Antibiotic resistance is high in children with urinary tract infections, and therefore common antibiotics may be ineffective as first-line treatments, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and Imperial College London reviewed the results of 58 observational studies in 26 countries.

The study – published in The BMJ – found that there was a high prevalence of resistance – not just in the UK but globally – in children’s UTIs caused by E coli (which is responsible for 80% of cases).

In countries within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Developement (OECD), eg in the UK, half of all samples were resistant to ampicillin (amoxicillin), a third to co-trimoxazole, and a quarter to trimethoprim.

The resistance rate was much higher in developing and non-OECD countries, and one possible explanation is the availability of antibiotics over the counter, researchers said.

Dr Céire Costelloe, from Imperial College London, co-led the research and pointed out that “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.”

Primary care clinicians will probably need to get used to taking an “antibiotic history” before prescribing for common bacterial infections, the report of the research stated.

It read: “A parent’s claim that ‘antibiotic x always works for my child’ might need to be balanced with the notion that ‘if antibiotic x was used in the last six months, there’s a good chance that it’s not going to work as well if used again’.

The researchers are calling on clinical guidelines to be reviewed, stating: “as a result [of the research], many guidelines, such as those published by NICE, might need updating”.

See the full report here