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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.


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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