Drug resistant child staph infection cases on the rise

Drug resistant child staph infection cases are on the rise according to a study involving 25 children’s hospitals across the nation, the Associated Press reports.

The number of children hospitalized increased ten-fold with what doctors call methicillin-resistant staph infections according to the study, which was released Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Disease incidence rates jumped from two to 21 cases per 1,000 hospital admissions from 1999 to 2008, the study says.

Dr. Jason Newland, lead author of the study and an infectious disease specialist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri - Kansas City, told the AP that most of the of MRSA infections were caught in the community, not in hospitals.

Traditionally, MRSA infections used to almost occur exclusively in hospitals and nursing homes. Newland pointed out, however, that the evidence from his recent study suggests community-acquired MRSA cases are on the rise while hospital-acquired cases seem to be dropping.

Over the 10-year period of the study, approximately 30,000 children with MRSA infections were hospitalized. Of those 30,000, 374 children with MRSA died, according to the study.

“While 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,” Newland told the AP.

The study also noted an increase in use of the antibiotic clindamycin, which Newland said is troubling.

“The increasing use of clindamycin is concerning because in some regions MRSA is already becoming resistant to the drug,” Newland said. “Doctors need to use the antibiotic judiciously.”
MRSA usually starts out as a small boil or pimple, but can spread rapidly to other parts of the body, like the lungs, where it can cause pneumonia.