Microbes and the Role of Antibiotic Treatment for Wheezy Lower Respiratory Tract Illnesses in Preschool Children

Christina G. Kwong, Leonard B. Bacharier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose of Review: Antibiotics are commonly used to treat wheezy lower respiratory tract illnesses in preschoolers, although these infections have been traditionally thought to be predominantly of viral origin. Our purpose is to review recent research pertaining to the role of antibiotics in lower respiratory tract illnesses and on subsequent asthma development, as well as the possible mechanisms of their effects. Recent Findings: Increasing evidence suggests that asthma pathogenesis is associated with events during infancy and early childhood, particularly respiratory tract infections. While viruses are frequently detected in children with lower respiratory tract infections, the presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria is also often detected and may play a role in asthma pathogenesis. Recent evidence suggests that use of macrolides, particularly azithromycin, may decrease the risk of and duration of lower respiratory tract illnesses and prevent future episodes in specific high-risk populations. Summary: Infants and preschoolers who have wheezy lower respiratory tract illnesses have a higher risk of asthma development. Alterations in the microbiome are thought to be influential. While several recent studies identify azithromycin as a therapeutic option in these illnesses, additional research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalCurrent Allergy and Asthma Reports
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Keywords

  • Antibiotics
  • Asthma pathogenesis
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Macrolides
  • Preschool children
  • Recurrent wheezing

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