The Asthma Trigger; Risk of Childhood Condition Increases in Babies Given Antibiotics, Scientists Warn

Daily Mail (London), March 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Asthma Trigger; Risk of Childhood Condition Increases in Babies Given Antibiotics, Scientists Warn


Byline: EMILY COOK

BABIES given antibiotics appear to have a much higher risk of developing childhood asthma, warn scientists.

Infants aged under one treated with an antibiotic were twice as likely as untreated children to end up with the condition, according to research.

And infants given a multiple course of antibiotics were at an even greater risk.

The study ties in with previous research suggesting that babies given antibiotics during their first six months are more likely to develop allergies.

The findings come amid increasing concern at the rising level of medical problems linked to allergic reactions. One in five British children currently suffer from asthma, while many thousands more have wheezing problems and allergies, as well as skin rashes caused by eczema.

For the latest research, scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada analysed eight studies comparing babies who were given antibiotics and those who were not.

All the babies given drugs had been exposed to at least one antibiotic in the first year of life.

Of the 12,082 children included in the analysis, 1,817 cases of childhood asthma were reported.

Overall, researchers concluded that infants exposed to at least one antibiotic were twice as likely as unexposed infants to develop asthma during childhood.

In a separate analysis, the researchers pooled data from five studies including 27,167 children, innvolving 3,392 asthma cases, to determine the effect that multiple courses of antibiotics in infants would have.

They concluded that for each additional course of antibiotics taken during the first year of life, the overall chance of developing asthma increased by 16 per cent. …

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