Giving Antibiotics To Healthy Kids In Poor Countries: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?Giving Antibiotics To Healthy Kids In Poor Countries: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?Giving Antibiotics To Healthy Kids In Poor Countries: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?

by Susan Brink
Goats and Soda, April 25, 2018

Read online at:
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/04/25/605741439/giving-antibiotics-
to-healthy-kids-in-poor-countries-good-idea-or-bad-idea

What if a simple intervention could save tens of thousands of those children? Seems like a no-brainer — unless the method used to save them puts tens of thousands of others at risk in the future. That’s the dilemma presented by a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers enrolled 190,238 healthy children and, over a period of two years, gave half of them four doses of the antibiotic azithromycin and half of them a placebo. The results showed a 14 percent reduction in deaths among children age five and younger who received the antibiotic, though the researchers don’t know exactly why the antibiotics had this effect. But there’s a potential trade-off. Giving antibiotics to a community of healthy children could eventually result in a number of diseases becoming resistant to those drugs.

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