Antibiotics given to entire household reduces threat of meningitis Providing antibiotics to everyone living in the same home as an individual who has already established meningitis can substantially decrease the risk of additional cases, according to a report in this week’s BMJ facts . Researchers analysed five studies to evaluate the effectiveness of offering chemoprophylaxis to the patient and to contacts in households and childcare settings. They found that the chance of meningococcal disease in household contacts of a patient is reduced by 89 percent if they take antibiotics that eradicate meningococcal carriage.

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The chance for treatment failure decreased by 32 percent and 64 percent when amoxicillin and cefdinir, respectively, were compared with placebo treatment. Similarly, the risk for death for the small children given placebo compared with the respective antibiotics increased 1.55 – and 1.80-fold. Antibiotic use also appeared to enhance the rate of weight gain in kids who recovered, notes the team. International consensus suggestions recommend use of ready-to-use therapeutic foods for kids with uncomplicated severe malnutrition, but regardless of the markedly better outcomes noticed with this revised outpatient routine, 10 to 15 percent of children still usually do not recover, say Manary et al.