The headline above is from a Reuters article published on November 18, 2013, in the Washington Post. This article, as well as several in other publications, reports on a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on November 18, 2013, that addresses the issue of antibiotic usage in children.
The problem noted in the Washington Post article and CDC report is that children with upper respiratory infections are often prescribed antibiotics even though most of these infections are caused by viruses and will not respond to antibiotics. Theoklis Zaoutis, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, warns, "People tend to not recognize how big of a problem this is."
A press release by the CDC on the study explains, "Every year as many as 10 million U.S. children risk side effects from antibiotic prescriptions that are unlikely to help their upper respiratory conditions. Many of these infections are caused by viruses, which are not helped by antibiotics."
Our primary goal is the best outcome for a child," said lead report author Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases. "The best treatment for a child doesn't always include an antibiotic."
Dr. Lauri Hicks, a coauthor of the report noted, "Many people have the misconception that, since antibiotics are commonly used, they are harmless. Taking antibiotics when you have a virus can do more harm than good." The biggest harm being reported in the articles is the growing antibiotic resistance to bacterial infections caused by what are being called "Superbugs."
The CDC release clearly stated the danger overuse of antibiotics creates in their release, "Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria evolve and are able to outsmart antibiotics, making even common infections difficult to treat. According to a landmark CDC report from September 2013, each year more than two million Americans get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 die as a result."