Taking antibiotics in the first two years of life can prevent babies from developing a robust immune response to certain vaccines. The new finding provides another cautionary tale against overusing antibiotics, researchers say minyak sereh wangi.
Babies get immunized in their first six months, and receive booster doses in their second year, to protect against certain infectious diseases. Antibiotic use during that time was associated with subpar immune responses to four vaccines babies receive to ward off whooping cough, polio and other diseases, researchers report online April 27 in Pediatrics.
And the more rounds of antibiotics a child received, the more antibody levels to the vaccines dropped below what’s considered protective. Levels induced by the primary series of shots for the polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococcal vaccines fell 5 to 11 percent with each antibiotic course. In the children’s second year, antibody levels generated by booster shots of these vaccines dropped 12 to 21 percent per course.
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“If anyone needed yet another reason why overprescription of antibiotics is not a good thing, this paper offers that reason,” says immunologist Bali Pulendran of Stanford University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.
Taking antibiotics disrupts the population of bacteria that live in the gut. That’s well known, but researchers are still learning about how that disruption can affect a person’s health. The new study adds to evidence that diminishing the amount and diversity of gut bacteria impacts vaccination. In studies in mice, antibiotics hampered the immune system’s response to vaccines. And a small study in humans found that antibiotics dampened adults’ response to the flu vaccine in those whose prior immune memory for influenza had waned, Pulendran and colleagues reported in 2019.