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Drug-Resistant Otitis Media Bug Emerging in Children

Infections from a certain Streptococcus pneumoniae strain does not respond to antibiotics

THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Since the introduction of the pneumococcal 7-valent conjugate vaccine in 2000, a strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae that does not respond to any antibiotics has emerged among children presenting with acute otitis media, researchers report in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Michael E. Pichichero, M.D., and Janet R. Casey, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues conducted a study of 1,816 children diagnosed with acute otitis media, of whom 212 underwent tympanocentesis, yielding 59 cases of S. pneumoniae infection.

In nine cases the strain was identified as belonging to serotype 19A and was resistant to all antibiotics that have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to treat pediatric acute otitis media. Two cases occurred in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, while five cases occurred in 2005-2006. Four cases had already been unsuccessfully treated with at least two antibiotics and were eventually resolved with tympanostomy tube insertion. The five later cases were successfully treated with levofloxacin.

"While the studied children represent a relatively small subset of all children in our practice with acute otitis media, these observations are clearly worrisome, especially since there are no new antibiotics in phase 3 clinical trials for acute otitis media in children," the authors write.

The authors report receiving financial support from several pharmaceutical companies.

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