Background: The role of antibiotic therapy on Salmonella faecal excretion is controversial. Acute Salmonella gastroenteritis induces long-lasting digestive symptoms in up to one-third of subjects. The role of antimicrobial therapy on persistent post-infectious symptoms is unknown.
Aim: To investigate the role of antibiotic therapy on long-term germ faecal excretion and digestive symptoms after Salmonella infection.
Subjects and methods: 1543 subjects [518 aged between 3 and 5 years (35.3%); 950 between 6 and 10 years (64.7%) and 75 adults (4.9%)] involved in a single outbreak of Salmonella enteritis fulfilled the study criteria by repeating stool cultures and answering a symptom questionnaire 3 months post-infection.
Results: 327 subjects (21.2%) were treated with antibiotics during the acute infection [121 children aged 3-5 years (23.4%), 175 children aged 6-10 years (18.4%) and 31 adults (41.3%)]. Antibiotic treatment did not affect Salmonella excretion at any of the time points studied up to three months post-infection in any age group as compared to age-matched untreated controls. Persistent digestive symptoms were more common among the patients treated with antibiotics (9.5% vs. 2.9%; P=0.003).
Conclusions: Antibiotic therapy does not affect Salmonella enteritis excretion. Digestive symptoms after clearance of the infectious agent are significantly higher in patients treated with antibiotics during acute gastroenteritis.