Skip to content

    Ear Infection Health Center

    Font Size

    Drug-Resistant Ear Infections Reported

    Bacteria Strain Resists Kids' Antibiotics and the PCV7 Pneumococcal Vaccine
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Oct. 16, 2007 -- Doctors have found a bacterial strain that causes ear infections and resists all FDA-approved antibiotics for kids.

    The bacterial strain also isn't targeted by the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine PCV7 routinely given to children.

    Altering the PCV7 vaccine to cover the drug-resistant bacterial strain might be a solution. Tests of such a vaccine are under way, note Michael Pichichero, MD, and Janet Casey, MD.

    They work at the University of Rochester and Legacy Pediatrics in Rochester, N.Y.

    Pichichero and Casey spotted the drug-resistant strain of Streptococcuspneumoniae bacteria in nine out of about 1,800 Rochester children who had a middle ear infection from 2003 to 2006.

    The bacterial strain resisted all antibiotics that are approved by the FDA for use in children.

    The doctors describe using "aggressive therapy (either surgery or levofloxacin also known as Levaquin, an antibiotic unapproved for children)” to treat the drug-resistant ear infections.

    But they warn that it could be "disastrous" for doctors to start using levofloxacin in kids with difficult-to-treat ear infections, because doing so could teach the bacteria to resist levofloxacin.

    It's not clear how common the drug-resistant ear infection bacteria are beyond the Rochester patients seen by Pichichero and Casey.

    The report appears in tomorrow's edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    (How many ear infections has your baby had this year? How do you treat them? Talk with other parents on WebMD's Parenting: 9 - 12 Months board.)

    Today on WebMD

    Ear Infection Slideshow
    Earache Cold Ear Infection
    Side view of child's ear
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Ear Infections When To Call A Doctor
    woman cleaning ear
    Ear Infections Medications
    Ear Infections Surgery
    24 Kid Illnesses Parents Should Know
    Parker Treating Ear Infections
    Ear Infections What Happens
    Ear Infections Exams And Tests