New research has found a small but steady increase in antibiotic use in sick children under the age of 5 in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the biggest uptick seen in the world’s poorest countries. In a study published in The Lancet Global Health, a team of Swedish researchers analyzed data from 73 LMICs and found that reported antibiotic use among sick children under the age of 5 increased by 17% from 2005 through 2017. On average, around 4 in 10 sick children younger than 5 in these countries were reported to receive antibiotics for their illness in 2017. Among the countries analyzed, low-income nations, particularly those in Africa and Southeast Asia, saw the biggest jump in antibiotic use in sick kids (34%) during the study period, although these same countries had the lowest overall antibiotic use in preschoolers compared with other LMICs.

 

Credit: CDC

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