Infant Deaths Fall Sharply in Africa With Routine Antibiotics

A nurse attending to a child in Dan-Mazadou, in southeastern Niger. Of the countries studied, Niger saw the strongest response to the routine administration of antibiotics. The regimen prevented one in four deaths among children aged 1 to 5 months. Boureima Hama/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As Donald G McNeil Jr. Reports in the New York Times, preliminary research shows promising results for infant antibiotic administration in Africa. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, a recent study has demonstrated a significant reduction in mortality rates for infants in three African countries that received regular doses of azithromycin over a two year period, compared to a placebo group. Although these results are powerful, the World Health Organization is approaching this potential treatment cautiously as it raises concerns about increasing the rate at which new antibiotic-resistant bacteria are formed. However, many of the study’s supporters think the benefits far outweigh the risks, as indicated by the encouragement from the vice president of clinical research at Pfizer, a large azithromycin donor for this research initiative.
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Source The New York Times

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