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Home Home Wellness News Decline in Kids' Ear Infections Linked to Vaccine
Decline in Kids' Ear Infections Linked to Vaccine
Wellness - Latest Wellness News
Jupiter, FL Dentist

By Maureen Salamon

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- American kids' ear infections dropped threefold over 10 years, compared to the 1980s, largely due to pneumococcal vaccines that protect against one type of bacteria that causes them, a new study suggests.

However, the study, which tracked more than 600 children from 2006 to 2016, also found a shift in the bacteria now triggering greater numbers of ear infections. The investigators also found that these germs are not killed by amoxicillin, the top-recommended antibiotic for the condition.

"The magnitude of the drop in the occurrence of ear infections was more than I expected," said study author Dr. Michael Pichichero. He's director of the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute in Rochester, N.Y.

"The second big finding is we've got this shift in the No. 1 bacteria. If something is not done, I would expect ear infections to come back in frequency," Pichichero added.

Children in the United States experience more than 5 million ear infections each year, resulting in more than 10 million antibiotic prescriptions and about 30 million annual visits for medical care, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Known medically as "acute otitis media," ear infections are the most common condition treated with antibiotics. Streptococcus pneumoniae has been driving most of the infections, the study authors noted.

In the new study, Pichichero's team determined the type of bacteria causing each case of ear infection among the participants by performing a minor surgical procedure in which a doctor drains the pus from behind the ear to relieve pain and remove infection.

During the study period, 23 percent of the children experienced at least one ear infection, and 3.6 percent had at least three ear infections by 12 months of age. By the age of 3, about 60 percent of the children had one or more ear infections, and about 24 percent had three or more ear infections.

But those ear infection rates are drastically lower than three decades ago due to the pneumococcal vaccine, which wipes out Streptococcus pneumoniae, the researchers reported.

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