Children with the new strain of superbug represented a small subset of those in our practice, but the results are worrisome, especially since there are no new antibiotics in the pipeline for ear infections in children, said Michael Pichichero, M.D., professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a partner at Legacy Pediatrics, the private practice involved. While we must be careful not to create undue alarm, the potential exists for newly evolved strains to spread to the ears of more children, said Pichichero, an author of the JAMA article.
Using an antibiotic not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in children is a concern because the FDA makes certain that the drug is safe and effective before granting approval, Pichichero said.
The off-label use of drugs like levofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, has been an area of intense debate because of potential safety issues, and because its excessive use in children, if it came about, may create resistance to the only drug effective against the superbug.
In the age of daycare, 83 percent of U.S. children experience one or more ear infections by age three. Acute otitis media is a bacterial ear infection that causes pain, fluid buildup and hearing loss in the worst cases. Until 2000, one species of bacteria, S. pneumoniae, also called pneumoccous, was the leading cause of otitis media, as well as of pneumonia and meningitis. Thanks to technology developed in part at the University of Rochester
|Contact: Greg Williams|
University of Rochester Medical Center