Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ear Infections caused by Superbug: "It all starts with the Ear"

A recent discovery has shown that there is a strain of bacteria causing chronic ear infections in children. It was discovered after common ear infection antibiotics failed to heal infections, which lead to an ear-tap and examination of the fluid. Tests on the fluid showed this "superbug" was being caused by strain 19A, and was found treatable using an adult antibiotic called levofloxacin, Levaquin (which the use of it has not been proven safe for children yet). However, there is a much bigger underlying issue at hand: over-prescribing of antibiotics leading to untreatable strains of bacteria, causing ear infections, pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections, etc... These conditions can lead to hearing loss, brain damage, and even death. It seems many doctors do not perform an ear tap to determine the type of bacteria causing the ear infection. They instead prescribe one of the many known antibiotics used to heal ear infections in children, without knowing if the infection will heal on its own or if the particular strain causing the infection is resistant to the antibiotic prescribed. This leads to using antibiotics when unnecessary, or using more types of antibiotics than necessary. This in turn builds antibiotic resistance. If the strain 19A becomes predominant in causing ear infections, than the use of the levofloxaxin, Levoquin antibiotic will increase, and pretty soon immunity to that will develop and there will be no approved treatment for ear infections, and overall strain 19A. The reality of strain 19A as a "superbug" will become inevitable, and with the way society is today, seemingly unavoidable.
Most ear infections are caused by Acute
Otitis, which usually comes from the bacteria S. Pneumonia. S.Pneumonia is also known to cause pneumonia and meningitis. Wyeth's Prevnan is a vaccine recommended for children under two to help prevent pneumonia. S. Pneumonia works by coating itself in a 90 variation sugar capsule that infects human cells by mimicking human cell coatings. 7 of the most common variations that cause infection are prevented by Prevnan.
This, and the overuse of antibiotics, made room for the other less common capsule variations (like strain 19A) to prevail. A new vaccine to cover more strains of S. Pneumonia is expected to come to market by 2009.

Some better advice: Be more cautious about "over-dosing" on antibiotics;
don't get treated for every little infection......after all we do have an immune system, and metaphorically speaking "If you don't use it, you lose it!"

References:

University of Rochester Medical Center (2007, October 17). Ear Infection Superbug Discovered To Be Resistant To All Pediatric Antibiotics.
ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 8, 2007, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071016160615.htm

Marchione, Marilyn (2007, September 17). Pneumonia Vaccine May Facilitate 'Superbug' Ear Infections.
Associated Press: C Health. Retrieved November 8, 2007, from http://chealth.canoe.ca

Gordon, Serena (2007, October 16). Ear Infections Linked to Drug-Resistant 'Superbug'.
HealthDay News. Retrieved November 8, 2007, from http://www.healthday.com

Image location:
http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/how-to-deal-with-middle-ear-infection-1.jpg

1 comment:

Dominic B. said...

An important point: 19A is a strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae