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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2001 Jan;15(1):61-7.

A prospective study of antibiotic use and associated infections in young children.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, The Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA. george-bergus@uiowa.edu


This study examines antibiotic usage and associated infections in infants and young children in Iowa. Longitudinal data were collected using a cohort recruited at birth from eight hospitals in eastern Iowa. Parents of recruited children were mailed questionnaires at 6 weeks, and 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, and 20 months of age. The cumulative incidence of antibiotic use and associated infections was determined using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. There were data on 1,368 children. Antibiotic use was common in our cohort and increased with age. Beginning at age 3 months, approximately 50% of the cohort was exposed to an antibiotic during each reporting period. Otitis media was the most common indication and was responsible for 67.3% of antibiotic use. Children were most frequently treated with amoxicillin, followed by the cephalosporins and sulphonamides. By 12 and 20 months of age 79.0% and 92.5% of the children, respectively, had been treated with at least one course of antibiotics. Children received antibiotics for a median of 43 days by 20 months of age. Males were more likely to experience any antibiotic exposure than females (hazard ratio = 1.18) and showed a trend for more days of use (P = 0.052). There was a small but significant variation in antibiotic usage in the different recruitment communities (P = 0.02).

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