The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition, based in large part on research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The new guidelines, which update protocols issued in 1999 by the Geneva-based organization, address treatment for the roughly 20 million children under age 5 worldwide who suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
Among the most significant new recommendations is that children with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition receive antibiotics to treat infection, along with therapeutic food. These children are severely malnourished but still have good appetites, are not hospitalized and do not show signs of severe infection. Under the guidelines, such children would be treated at their homes with antibiotics and specially formulated, nutrient-rich food.