Troubled future

Published: Monday 15 December 1997

Babies infected at birth with a common sexually transmitted bacterium Ureaplasma urealyticum , are more likely to develop asthma in later life. More than 50 per cent women in western countries are found to be asthmatic. Rita DeLollis at the Winchester and Lawrence Hospital, Massachusetts, USA, screened throats of 132 wheezing children up to age 3. Nearly one third of the children were found to carry the bacterium. She suggests that proper treatment of the infection during first 12 months of life could help kids ward-off asthma at later stage. Parents could also be treated before childbirth to eliminate the bacterium from their body ( New Scientist , Vol 156, No 2103).

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