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Increase in Pneumococcal Vaccines Leads to Decrease in Ear Infections in Children

Despite the positive effect of reducing ear infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, the vaccines have opened the door for infections with other types of bacteria, namely, Haemophilus influenza and Moraxella catarrhalis. Because these bacteria are not killed by amoxicillin, Dr. Pichichero and his team began prescribing amoxicillin clavulanate, or cefdinir, if the child was allergic to amoxicillin.

Dr. Pichichero also notes that, “the rate of ear infections in children has also dropped because more strict criteria are now used to diagnose the condition.”

He remarked on this in the press release, stating, “Those are two really good things occurring, and the impact has been really significant in reducing the number of ear infections we're seeing. The germs causing ear infections are clever, and the antibiotics and vaccines we're giving are still not perfect, so ... clinical research is continuing so we will eventually conquer all ear infections in children."

Other effects, such as decreased incidence in meningitis and sepsis, as well as other infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae have also been noted as a result of pneumococcal vaccines.

Despite the positive effects seen from the vaccine, the risk factors for ear infections remain the same. According to the press release, these include: “day care; family history of ear infections; being a boy; being white; and getting a first ear infection before 6 months of age.”
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