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Zinc boosts treatment of newborn infections

Zinc can aid antibiotic treatment for serious infantile infections.

By PressTV | 31 May 2012

Zinc supplementation may increase the effectiveness of antibiotics in the treatment of serious newborn infections in developing countries.

The finding was resulted from a study of more than 300 infants younger than 120 days or 4 months that were hospitalized in New Delhi, India due to serious and deadly infections including meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis or blood poisoning.

The results showed that adding a 10-milligram daily oral dose of zinc to standard antibiotics reduced the risk of treatment failure by 40 percent compared with administrating standard antibiotics alone.

Several investigations have identified widespread zinc deficiency in low- and middle-income countries and also its association with higher infections rates.

However, the new three-year study demonstrated that oral zinc may even be helpful for infected newborns that are not suffering from a sever zinc deficiency, the scientists wrote in journal The Lancet.

“It does not need to be serious zinc deficiency. Even mild deficiency can compromise a child’s immunity,” said the senior author Shinjini Bhatnagar of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute and All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“Zinc is an accessible, low-cost intervention that could add to the effect of antibiotic treatment,” Dr. Bhatnagar added.

If further researches confirm the study’s results, “the use of zinc as an adjunct to antibiotic treatment might lead to substantial reductions in infant mortality, particularly in resource-constrained settings where second-line antibiotics and appropriate intensive care might be unavailable,” the researchers suggested.

Reportedly, in 2010, infections like pneumonia and meningitis accounted for 47 percent of all deaths in children aged under 5 worldwide, and almost a quarter died during the first 28 days of life.



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