Managing Editor's Note: Chronic ear infections are debilitating for the child, who is in pain and can develop speech delays and whose gut flora are altered by antibiotic use, and for the parents, who know that a child with an ear infection is a sad sack indeed whose illness causes lost work days and sleepless nights.
CHICAGO — 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.
Read the full article at MSNBC.com.