Two new examples of medical overkill have been announced to tackle that major problem of childhood: otitis media, or middle ear infections.

The first, developed by one Professor Michael Pichichero, the head of paediatrics at New York’s University of Rochester Medical Centre, is a vaccine for otitis media, which would be given to infants before their first birthday.

Professor Pichichero announced at a London meeting on infectious diseases that animal tests with these vaccines, derived from the pneumococci bacteria, which causes true middle ear infections, had been very successful.

The vaccine, also intended for the elderly and those who cannot tolerate antibiotics, was “very much on the horizon,” Pichichero.

Childhood ear ache was also in a recent issue of MIMS, which reported that some 90 per cent of what is treated as middle ear infections by doctors are simple inflammations not caused by the pneumococci bacteria and so won’t be prevented by the vaccine.

Meanwhile, at Bnai Zion Medical Centre in Israel, a study concluded that children with otitis media did better with a combination of antibiotics (amoxicillin) and prednisone than with antibiotics alone. Prednisone is a potent oral steroid that has been implicated in major compromising of the immune system and problems with thinning skin.

This regime was recommended as preferable to surgery (ie, inserting tubes in the ear canal).

Can amputation be far behind?

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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