Dramatic surge seen in kids hospitalized with MRSA

May 17, 2010 By LINDSEY TANNER , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- The number of children hospitalized with dangerous drug-resistant staph infections surged 10-fold in recent years, a study found.

Disease incidence increased from 2 cases to 21 cases per 1,000 from 1999 to 2008. Most infections were caught in the community, not in the hospital.

The study involved methicillin-resistant staph infections, called MRSA. These used to occur mostly in hospitals and nursing homes but they are increasingly showing up in other settings in children and adults. Recent evidence suggests hospital-acquired MRSA cases may be declining while community-acquired cases are becoming more common.

The results are "a good example of how something that is not unexpected remains alarming," said Dr. Buddy Creech, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. He was not involved in the study.

The study involved 25 children's hospitals; the 10-fold increase in hospitalizations likely occurred nationwide, said Dr. Jason Newland, the lead author and an infectious disease physician at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Almost 30,000 children were hospitalized with MRSA infections at the hospitals studied during the 10-year period. Most had skin or muscle infections, and 374 youngsters with MRSA died. While Newland said it isn't clear if MRSA caused those deaths, it can be deadly and is blamed for more than 18,000 deaths in children and adults nationwide each year.

The study didn't examine whether deaths or the severity of infections increased.

The results were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

MRSA often begins as a pimple or boil on the skin. It can also spread to other parts of the body, including the bones or lungs, where it can cause .

The study also found a coinciding increase in use of clindamycin, an antibiotic that comes in easy-to-use pills and liquid, and smaller increases for two other antibiotics. Another drug effective against MRSA, vancomycin, is only available intravenously and its use decreased during the study.

Newland said the increasing use of clindamycin is concerning because in some regions MRSA is already becoming resistant to the drug. Doctors need to use the antibiotic judiciously, he said.

Dr. Kenneth Alexander, the University of Chicago's pediatric infectious disease chief, said he agrees.

"Staph are incredibly cagey, and will ultimately find their way around any antibiotic in use," he said.

Research is needed to find other drugs that will work against , he said.

Explore further: Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

More information: Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org
MRSA: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar-mrsa-data.html

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Staph infections carry long-term risks

Jul 03, 2008

Patients who harbor the highly contagious bacterium causing staph infections can develop serious and sometimes deadly symptoms a year or longer after initial detection, a UC Irvine infectious disease researcher has found.

MRSA head and neck infections increase among children

Jan 19, 2009

Rates of antibiotic-resistant head and neck infections increased in pediatric patients nationwide between 2001 and 2006, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of ...

Recommended for you

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

8 hours ago

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

22 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

Sep 19, 2014

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments : 0