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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology
Volume 18, Issue 3, Pages 189-192
Original Article

Antibiotic Availability and the Prevalence of Pediatric Pneumonia During a Physicians’ Strike

Ken Crocker,1 Benvon Cramer,2 and James M Hutchinson3

1Discipline of Radiology, Health Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
2Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre, Canada
3Division of Medical and Clinical Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Received 6 September 2005; Accepted 29 January 2007

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Antibiotics are widely believed to be overpre-scribed for pediatric respiratory infections, yet there are few data available on the effect of a sudden decrease in antibiotic availability on pediatric infectious disease.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the prevalence of radiographically diagnosed pneumonia changed over a period of decreased physician access and decreased antibiotic availability.

DESIGN: A retrospective study was performed which reviewed the number of pediatric respiratory antibiotic prescriptions over a period which included a physicians’ strike. The study examined whether antibiotic availability had been affected by the strike. Pediatric chest radiograph reports were reviewed for the same period to determine whether changes in antibiotic availability had affected the prevalence of radiographically diagnosable pneumonias among children presenting to a pediatric emergency room.

RESULTS: While prescriptions for antibiotics fell by a minimum estimate of 28% during the strike, there was no change in the frequency of radiographic diagnoses of pneumonia.

CONCLUSIONS: Respiratory antibiotics appear to be available in the community in excess of the amount required to control pneumonia. A 28% decrease in antibiotic availability did not result in a significant increase in respiratory disease.