Children infection deaths warning19th March 2010
Child deaths in England and Wales from potentially preventable infections could be significantly reduced through greater vigilance by doctors, according to the Health Protection Agency.
It says up to one in five such deaths are due to such infections and emphasised that childhood vaccines have a key role in cutting unnecessary deaths.
A study analysing data from 2003 to 2005 is the first to look at the burden of deaths from specific infections in children.
From death certificates in children aged 28 days to 14 years, it found 20% of a total 6,987 deaths were related to an infection.
Around half of those were in children with other health problems such as cerebral palsy and cancer.
Dr Shamez Ladhani, study leader and consultant in paediatric infectious disease, said ensuring good uptake of currently used vaccinations would also have an impact on deaths.
"We have very good vaccination programmes in place - but we also need to make sure we are up to date with the latest vaccines out there," he said.
Dr Ladhani felt doctors needed to be more vigilant for infection in seriously ill children to ensure they get treatment quickly enough and watch for antibiotic resistance.
Researchers were particularly concerned about the high rate of deaths from some intestinal infections in children with underlying medical problems.
Dr David Vickers from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: ""Earlier recognition of ill children and more systematic management through the use of clinical protocols both offer the potential to reduce mortality from infection."
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Title: Children infection deaths warning
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 14433
Date Added: 19th Mar 2010