CNN.com released a story on March 3, 2004 reporting that antibiotics may no longer be what the doctor orders. According to federal health officials, two leading medical groups are expected to recommend this spring that doctors stop treating most ear infections in children with antibiotics.

About half of all antibiotics prescribed to preschool children are for treating ear infections. The problem that is arising is that because of the high usage, more bacterial infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Health officials believe if they can reduce child antibiotic use for such infections, they can stop the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs created by overuse of the drugs.

Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the meningitis and special pathogens branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted that this new recommendation will represent a marked departure from years of common practice. He states, “It will mark a dramatic change in appropriate antibiotic use.”

Dr. Allan Lieberthal, co-chairman of the medical committee reviewing the proposed new guidelines stated, “Since the discovery of penicillin, when there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are given.” He continued, “Because of the increasing resistance of common bacteria to antibiotics, the importance of limiting their use is essential.”