Magazine article Science News

'Bug' Spray Cuts Risk of Ear Infection

Magazine article Science News

'Bug' Spray Cuts Risk of Ear Infection

Article excerpt

Swedish researches are spearheading a truly counterintuitive approach to heading off recurrent ear infections in youngsters. They're spraying bacteria into children's noses.

Roughly 1 in every 20 kids is prone to ear infections, also known as otitis media. From infancy through their toddler years, these children can average six or more bouts annually.

Ironically, the antibiotics used to treat these bacterial infections often wipe out beneficial bacteria that would otherwise compete with, or even kill, the pathogens. By replacing some of the depleted germ-inhibiting bacteria, a researcher at Lundby Hospital in Gothenburg hoped to turn this situation around.

Kristian Roos and his coworkers started by formulating solutions charged with five species of beneficial alphastreptococcus bacteria that had been harvested from the eustachian tubes of healthy children at a day care center. These tubes, which connect the nasopharynx and middle ear, provide a conduit through which germs in the nose and throat can infect ears.

Next, the researchers recruited 130 children who had a history of frequent bouts of otitis media and were just about to start a course of antibiotics for their latest infection. Their parents were told to administer a nasal spray twice daily for 10 days, beginning as soon as the antibiotic treatment had ended. Half the youngsters received sprays with the bacteria-laced solution; the rest got a bacteria-free spray. The parents were asked to administer a second course of nasal sprays 1 month later. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.