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Antibiotic induces liver damage in children with E.COLI infections.

The strain of bacteria known as E. coli 0157:H7 causes some of the most serious digestive infections in both children and adults. Infections with this organism are often caused by eating undercooked meat. A major study shows using antibiotics to treat children with E. coli bacterial infection increases the risk of developing a potentially deadly liver disorder.

"Our data suggests that antibiotics are not only not helpful, but are potentially harmful in children with diarrhea caused by E. coli 0157," says study co-author, Dr. Phillip Tarr, of the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the University of Washington in Seattle.

Children infected with E. coli develop both a very mild illness or severe bloody diarrhea. Infection can also lead to hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS),a condition leading to red blood cell breakdown.HUS is one of the leading causes of acute liver failure in young children.The study examined children with diarrhea caused by E. coli and found 56% of the children who were given antibiotics developed HUS compared to just 8% of those who were not treated with antibiotics.

On the basis of this study it should be made a practice to prescribe antibiotics only after the stool tests confirm that E.Coli is not the cause of the illness.

According to the CDC, children and adults can prevent the spread of E. coli infection by taking the following steps:

>> Practice good hygiene and wash hands carefully.

>> Make sure all meats, especially hamburger, is thoroughly cooked to well doneness.

>> Keep children with diarrhea or loose stools out of child care facilities until their diarrhea is resolved.


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