Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Infections Get Tougher to Treat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Infections Get Tougher to Treat

Article excerpt

Sharp and unexpected increases in penicillin-resistant ear infections, pneumonia and meningitis are becoming widespread, especially in day-care centers, federal health authorities warn.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the cause of the alarming rise in penicillin resistance among the most common community-acquired diseases appears to be overuse of antibiotics by doctors. They prescribe them and promote unreasonable expectations for a "quick cure" by those who use them.

Without more restrained use of antibiotics, the federal scientists say, penicillin and other drugs will become increasingly useless in treating the germs that cause 24.5 million trips to the doctor's office for childhood ear infections, as many as 570,000 cases of pneumonia among the elderly and as many as 4,000 cases of meningitis.

In some areas, disease center officials say, the value of antibiotics in preventing the infections caused by strep pneumoniae - the common cause of all three diseases - "is reaching the point of diminishing returns. …

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