Giving babies antibiotics as immediately after birth alters the microbes that live in their guts: study.


In the report, researchers claim that antibiotics are often prescribed without need because only a tiny percentage of patients who are prescribed the antibiotics are later diagnosed with an infection.

The use of antibiotics for babies in the first week of their life can reduce healthy bacteria needed for, among other things, to digest milk and an increase in resistance to antibiotics, studies suggest.

As per experts, doctors must consider prescribing antibiotics most safely for the microbiome of newborns — the group of microbes in our bodies.

Under present guidelines, antimicrobials targeted at a range of bacteria are recommended for up to 4 to 10 percent of all newborns who are suspected illnesses.

But, experts believe that antibiotics are not needed in most cases because only a tiny percentage of patients who are prescribed the antibiotics are later identified with an illness.

This prescription will ensure prompt treatment for patients who ultimately are discovered to be infected, as any delay could quickly become life-threatening.

The study, published in Nature Communications, found an alteration in 251 out of 695 diverse bacteria following treatment, altering the balnce between beneficial and harmful bacteria, favoring bacteria that are more likely to be dangerous.

Although the recovery process is gradual with time, The changes in the microbiome and antimicrobial resistance genes were evident over at most 12 months. They did not change with the breastfeeding process, which has been thought to strengthen a baby’s immune system.

“We were amazed by the duration and magnitude of the results of broad-spectrum antibiotics on the infant’s microbiome compared with the effects of the same antibiotics on the microbiota of adults,” said lead author Professor Debby Bogaert, chair of Paediatric Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

“This could be due to the antibiotics being administered in a period when babies have just received their very first bacteria from the mother and are still developing an innate microbiome,” Bogaert added.

Researchers conducted a study with 227 infants to study the effects of antibiotics on a newborn’s microbiome.

The samples were analyzed to determine the microbes that make the newly formed microbiome and for bacterial genes related to resistance to antimicrobials.

In the case of newborns who had been given antibiotics, it was an essential decrease in amounts of the various Bifidobacterium species compared to babies who had not received antibiotic treatment.

These microbes help with the digestion of breast milk and help improve the gut’s health and aid the immune system in fighting infections.

The team also discovered an increase in the number of potentially harmful bacteria and an increase in the number and number of genes associated with antimicrobial resistance in the population that received antibiotics.

Furthermore, of the three treatment regimens for antibiotics that were tested, the combination of penicillin and gentamicin was discovered to have the least damaging effect on a child’s gut microbiome and the number of resistance genes antimicrobials that emerge.

Brian Santiago

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