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Dr. Patricia Fontela obtained her medical degree in Brazil in 1997. After concluding her medical training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care, she pursued a MSc in Medicine in the same country. After moving to Canada in 2004, she completed a second fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care, as well as her Ph.D. in Epidemiology at McGill University. In 2012, she was hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, at McGill University, and as staff physician within the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at the Montreal Children’s Hospital..

Unnecessary antibiotic use for viral respiratory infections is a problem worldwide, especially in viral bronchiolitis. Such antibiotic overuse may be explained by the fact that no clinical, laboratory, and/or radiological test can differentiate between bacterial and viral lung infections with 100% certainty. Thus, it is crucial to evaluate new diagnostic tests to determine if they can improve the accuracy of this differential diagnosis. The high antibiotic use in viral lung infections leads to bacterial resistance in hospitals and in the community.

Dr. Fontela’s research focuses on infection control in the pediatric critical care setting. She is currently investigating the use of antibiotics in pediatric critical care units, including the determinants that influence antibiotic usage, the clinical reasoning behind antibiotic-related decisions, and the use of biomarkers to differentiate between viral and bacterial lung infections.

Dr. Fontela’s research will help to optimize the use of antibiotics in pediatric patients with lower respiratory tract infections. In the future, she expects that the use of biomarkers will allow us to differentiate between viral and bacterial lung infections, which will prevent patients from being unnecessarily exposed to antibiotics and their side effects. The reduction in the unnecessary use of antibiotics will also contribute to decreasing bacterial resistance at hospitals, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.