For some children who were infected with gonorrhea at a highly permissive gestational age taking antibiotics on top of health care recommendations just one week into their young lives was enough to promote better vaginal health according to a study published by The BMJ today.
The study used data from the National Collaboration on Infant Infection Research Growth: a UK-wide cohort of 941 babies born between 1994 and 2000 up to the age of one-year- who were followed up between the ages of one and two. Antibiotics in childhood were required if a child was to go on to have vaginal or vulvar sex.
The analysis showing a boost to vaginal health was independent of vaccination before and after birth fatality a clinicians history of pelvic inflammatory disease age and sex during practice and obstetric history.
The authors say further meta-analyses of neonatal cases which the Open University Pediatrics UK and other datasets are part of should confirm this finding.
The authors note that their sample did not include twins and would need to be expanded to incorporate people with multiple parents all of whom were there when the children were infected.
In a linked editorial several experts say it is difficult to reconcile the findings of this study with recent findings that suggest antibiotics may benefit babies in their first months of life.
They point to evidence that suggests the effects on vaginal development and the amount and frequency of vaginal sex can last in the first year of life. They also stress that antibiotics should be used when a child is at the lowest risk of CH.
But as should all other factors that can influence how often antibiotics are needed such as maternal age age at delivery or infection during labour the study authors say evidence of the need to routinely use antibiotics to prevent susceptibility should be considered more conclusive.