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Global Health
March 15, 2016

Antibiotics of No Benefit in Treating Children With Malnutrition

JAMA. 2016;315(11):1100. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.2266

Using routine antibiotics to treat children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) does not aid nutritional recovery, reported an international team of investigators (Isanaka S et al. N Engl J Med. 2016; 374[5]:444-453).

In 1999 the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that all children with SAM should receive antibiotics to reduce the risk of death because malnutrition was often complicated by bacterial infection and required treatment in the hospital. However, the costs and consequences of emerging resistance associated with routine antibiotic use raise questions about antibiotic use in treating children with uncomplicated cases of SAM.

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