A considerable number of children suffering from urinary tract infections aren't being helped by traditional medicine because of the increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance, according to a new study.
The latest research, conducted at the University of Bristol and Imperial College London, examined data from 58 observational studies involving more than 7,000 samples of Escherichia coli, which researchers say is responsible for 80 percent of all urinary tract infections in kids. Researchers also analyzed the links between previous exposure to antibiotics and subsequent resistance in the same child.
Study results revealed that 53.4 percent of the pediatric urinary tract infections within western nations were resistant to ampicillin (amoxicillin), 23.6 percent were resistant to trimethoprim, 8.2 percent were to co-amoxiclav, 2.1 percent were resistant to ciprofloxacin and 1.3 percent to nitrofurantoin.
"Prevalence of resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics in primary care in children with urinary tract infections caused by E coli is high, particularly in countries outside the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), where one possible explanation is the availability of antibiotics over the counter," researchers wrote in the study.
"This could render some antibiotics ineffective as first line treatments for urinary tract infection. Routine use of antibiotics in primary care contributes to antimicrobial resistance in children, which can persist for up to six months after treatment," they added.
Researchers said that latest findings are important because it highlights the consequences caused by overprescribing antibiotics. Previous studies reveal that nearly half of all antibiotics prescribed useless when it comes to treating common infections in adults.
Lead researcher Ashley Bryce of the University of Bristol said the latest findings show that the rise of antibiotic resistance isn't just affecting adults - it's also seriously endangering children.
"Prevalence of resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics in primary care in children with urinary tract infections caused by E coli is high, particularly in countries outside the OECD, where one possible explanation is the availability of antibiotics over the counter," Bryce said in a news release.
Grant Russell, a professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, writes that the latest study shows "compelling evidence of the need to reconsider current approaches to community based management of pediatric urinary tract infection," according to an accompanying editorial.
"While I have no doubt that clinical practice guidelines will quickly be able to accommodate the findings, I am less confident that there is the will and commitment to deal with what the WHO has called "the post-antibiotic era," he added.
The latest findings are published in The BMJ.