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Children throat infections rising

22nd October 2012

Researchers have highlighted a dramatic rise in the number of children admitted to hospitals with throat infections over the last decade.

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The team from Imperial College London, writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, found a 76% increase though most children were released home after a short stay.

And rather than an increase in the severity of infections, they suggest it is more to do with pressure on doctors and a maximum waiting time in A&E that has seen the surge in admissions.

However, Dr Elizabeth Koshy, lead study author from the school of public health at Imperial College London, said the rise was a cause for concern.

“Our findings relating to short hospital stays suggest that many of the children admitted with acute throat infections could have been effectively managed in the community,” she added.

“Our study highlights the need to urgently address the issue of healthcare access, with improved models of integrated care within primary and secondary care, to avoid potentially unnecessary hospital admissions for relatively minor infections in the future.”

The study focused on admission rates for children up to the age of 17 with acute throat infections between 1999 and 2010, along with the number of tonsillectomies performed during that period.

Figures show that admissions for throat infections rose from 12,283 in 1999 to 22,071 in 2010, with the highest rates were among children aged one to four.

They said further research was needed to confirm that declining tonsillectomy rates were not associated with an increase in more severe throat infections rates.

 

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