The vast majority of children presenting with fever do not have a bacterial infection and therefore will not benefit from being prescribed oral antibiotics. For instance, one study of febrile infants found overall bacteraemia frequency of well below one per cent. Sometimes, in exception to this, oral antibiotics are prescribed to treat an unapparent bacterial infection or prevent development of severe bacterial infection and appear to have beneficial effects, though even the significance of these effects is disputed. Given that inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics is a major cause of antibiotic resistance and antibiotics have adverse effects, it is not considered good clinical practice to prescribe antibiotics in children without a specific bacterial infection.
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). AURA 2016: first Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health. Sydney: ACSQHC 2016.
- Hahné SJM, Charlett A, Purcell B, et al. Effectiveness of antibiotics given before admission in reducing mortality from meningococcal disease: systematic review. British Medical Journal 2006; 332(7553):1299-303.
- Rothrock SG, Harper MB, Green SM, et al. Do oral antibiotics prevent meningitis and serious bacterial infections in children with Streptococcus pneumoniae occult bacteremia? A meta-analysis. Pediatrics 1997; 99(3):438.
- Rudinsky SL, Carstairs KL, Reardon JM, et al. Serious bacterial infections in febrile infants in the post-pneumococcal conjugate vaccine era. Academic Emergency Medicine 2009; 16(7):585-90.