Simpler Antibiotic Regimen Helps Sick Babies in Developing Nations

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Newborns and young infants in developing nations who have suspected severe bacterial infections can be effectively treated outside a hospital, two new studies suggest.

The findings indicate that the World Health Organization’s guidelines on treating newborns and young infants with possible bacterial infections — such as pneumonia and sepsis (blood infection) — should be altered, the researchers said.

About one in five babies worldwide develops severe bacterial infections during the first month of life, leading to about 700,000 deaths in newborns every year, the researchers explained. Current WHO guidelines recommend that newborns and young infants believed to have such infections be hospitalized and treated with antibiotic injections for at least seven to 10 days.

However, many parents in developing nations can’t afford, or don’t have access to, such hospital care. Some refuse to take their children to the hospital, or aren’t willing to adhere to the antibiotic injection program, the researchers said.

The new studies were published April 1 in The Lancet and The Lancet Global Health.

“Safe, effective, simplified treatment alternatives provided on an outpatient basis could help increase the number of children receiving care, improve adherence to treatment, and reduce the burden on limited hospital resources and the risk of hospital-acquired infections,” Ebunoluwa Adejuyigbe, co-lead author of one of the studies, said in a Lancet news release. Adejuyigbe is dean of the School of Medicine at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.

Source: U.S. News & World Report (link opens in a new window)

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