Note: Is the resistant strep appearing as a result of the pneumococcal vaccine the strain that causes PANDAS, a previously unheard of infection that presents as severe OCD and often violent "mental illness"? The article says "effect," not side effect. After all, vaccines work except when they don't. Save lives except when they kill. And have no side effects except occasional swelling and redness at the injection site except when they do.
A vaccine that has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious illnesses in children is having an unfortunate effect: promoting new superbugs that cause ear infections.
On Monday, doctors reported discovering the first such germ that is resistant to all drugs approved to treat childhood ear infections. Nine toddlers in Rochester, N.Y., have had the germ and researchers say it may be turning up elsewhere, too.
It is a strain of strep bacteria not included in pneumococcal vaccine, Wyeth's Prevnar, which came on the market in 2000. It is recommended for children under age 2.
Doctors say parents should continue to have their toddlers get the shots because the vaccine prevents serious illness and even saves lives. But the new resistant strep is a worry.
"The best way to prevent these resistant infections from spreading is to be careful about how we use antibiotics," said Dr. Cynthia Whitney, chief of respiratory diseases at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Avoiding antibiotics when they are not needed is the best way to ensure they will work when they are, she said.
If the new strains continue to spread, "it tells us the vaccine is becoming less effective" and needs to be revised, said Dr. Dennis Maki, infectious diseases chief at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics.