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Antibiotic consumption and prevention of bacterial resistance

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Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem that affects both developed and developing countries. It has been estimated that by 2050, ten million people a year will die by infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, a figure that exceeds the 8.2 million people a year who die from cancer currently. The spread of drug-resistant bacteria is closely related to antibiotic consumption in animals, agriculture and clinical use in humans. Many children with upper respiratory infections are treated with antibiotics, even though most of them are caused by viruses, with the exception of acute otitis media, streptococcal pharyngitis and sinusitis. These last three entities are autolimited and complications are uncommon, even though they are not treated with antibiotics. Besides, clinical benefit of antibiotic treatment is modest. To reduce antibiotic consumption and consequently the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, it has been recommended adhering to Clinical guidelines to manage upper respiratory infections. It is essential to make an accurate diagnosis, to identify those patients who will benefit most from the treatment and to use short antibiotic courses with proper doses. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines and influenza vaccines can also help to reduce antibiotic consumption and bacterial resistances.

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