Medics at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have been given a small grant that could make a huge change to the way a common and severe chest condition is treated nationwide.
Protracted Bacterial Bronchitis (PBB) is a bacterial infection of the airways. It is the leading cause of chronic chesty coughs in young children and the most common reason for referrals to paediatric respiratory clinics across the UK. But there are no agreed guidelines on how to treat it, with doctors reliant on antibiotics used for complaints like middle ear infections and pneumonia. With Australian studies suggesting this treatment leads to patients with PBB developing antibiotic resistant bacteria – there is an urgent need for more data.
Which is why charity Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK) has awarded Sheffield Children’s Hospital an 18-month £4000 grant to investigate further.
“Two groups of children will be involved in our unique pilot” revealed Dr Simon Hardman, Clinical Research Fellow and Paediatric Registrar at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, “one will be given the preventative antibiotic Azithromycin over the winter months, the other not. We will then swab to see what the patterns of resistance are.”
Patients taking part in the study will be closely monitored by Dr Kelechi Ugonna, Consultant and lead clinician for Paediatric Respiratory Disease.
The symptoms of PBB include a nasty chesty cough for over four weeks. PBB can create permanent scars on the lungs and more likelihood of picking-up further infections, while continued use of antibiotics can leave patients unprotected against deadly superbugs. Since young children can be a portal for infections, those bugs can also be spread to family and friends.
Sheffield Children’s Hospital is one of just six projects in the UK to receive small grants from ANTRUK. Designed to support everything from small equipment purchases to fostering collaborative projects,