MRSA Infection Hospital Treatments for Kids Have Increased in Recent Years

Researchers say that the number of children diagnosed with antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections that required hospital treatment has increased by a factor of 10 in recent years. 

Between 1999 and 2008, the number of children hospitalized with methicillin-resistant staph infections (MRSA) shot up from 2 cases per every 1,000 hospital admissions, to 21 cases. Most of those infections were acquired in the community, according to a new children infection study published online in the medial journal Pediatrics.

Researchers looked at admissions in 25 hospitals, and found that nearly 30,000 children had been hospitalized with MRSA infections during the 10-year time frame of the study. While 374 of those children died, it is not always clear whether the infection played a role in their deaths, researchers said. The numbers since 1999 represented a 10-fold increase in the number of MRSA infections diagnosed among children in hospitals.

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 2 million hospital infections acquired each year, resulting in about 90,000 deaths annually. Another 1.5 million long term care and nursing home infections occur every year.

MRSA infections, have accounted for more than 60 percent of hospital staph infections in recent years. The CDC reports that about 126,000 hospital MRSA infections occur each year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths. But some researchers suggest that the number of deaths from MRSA in the U.S. is closer to 20,000 annually.

Another recent study, published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases medical journal, found that the MRSA bacteria are at least present in 6% of children in hospital ICUs. Even if they are not infected with it, the children carry colonies of bacteria on their skin that could infect them or others.

Researchers who conducted this latest study said that the prevalence of community-acquired MRSA is changing prescribing patterns by doctors, resulting in heavier use of antibiotics to which MRSA is known to be susceptible. The scientists say that doctors should pay closer attention to MRSA strains which may appear to show increased immunity to this infection..


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