Fighting infection improves malnourished kids' survival

ADDING antibiotics to food may save the lives of severely malnourished children, a US-based researcher has demonstrated.

The intervention was studied in nearly 2800 children in Malawi over 30 days, with a seven-day course of an oral antibiotic, or placebo, being administered to the malnourished children along with a special peanut-butter based therapeutic food.

Almost 88.3% of the children recovered from malnutrition, however deaths were significantly higher among children who did not receive an oral antibiotic.

The researchers found a 44% drop in mortality with the use of cefdinir and a 36% drop in mortality with the use of amoxicillin, compared with the use of no antibiotics. 

New Engl J Med 2013; online 31 Jan