Blood Test Narrows Down Need for Antibiotics

"I'm cautiously optimistic," said Dr. Lilian Abbo, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "It's unclear if we can extrapolate the findings. The study was conducted in Switzerland, it was an elderly population, and a high number had pneumonia. More studies are needed to interpret this and to incorporate it into practice."

The test is available in the United States, but is not approved for this purpose, Yealy said.

"This was one specific manufacturer's test," Yealy noted. "It may not apply to others."

More information

The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics has more on antibiotic overuse and bacterial resistance.

SOURCES: Donald M. Yealy, M.D., professor and chair, department of emergency medicine, University of Pittsburgh; Ann Falsey, professor, medicine, infectious disease, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York; Lilian Abbo, M.D., assistant professor, infectious diseases, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Sept. 9, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

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