A new study out of the Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri-Kansas City has found that there has been an increase in the numbers of children being hospitalized with staph infections. An over-use of antibiotics may be to blame.
Dr. Jason Newland, the lead author of the study and an infectious disease physician at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, looked at 25 children’s hospitals that treated children with these infections. Referred to as MRSA, these drug-resistant staph infections are especially dangerous for young children. According to Dr. Newland, there has been at least a 10-fold increase in the rates of MRSA infections in children nationwide.
In the last ten years, there have been nearly 30,000 reported cases of MRSA infections in children. Of those cases, 374 children died. MRSA kills an estimated 18,000 adults and children in the US each year. Most of the infections are skin or muscle infections, though it can spread into the bones and lungs. MRSA begins as a pimple or boil on the skin, then spreads to the rest of the body. It can cause pneumonia if it is able to enter the lungs.
Increased use of the antibiotic clindamycin is linked to the increase of MRSA infections, the study shows. In some regions of the US, local strains of MRSA have become resistant to the antibiotics.
“Staph are incredibly cagey, and will ultimately find their way around any antibiotic in use,” said Dr. Kenneth Alexander, the University of Chicago’s pediatric infectious disease chief.
More research is needed to find new medications that will treat these resistant strains. Until then, Dr. Newland warns doctors to “to use the antibiotic judiciously.” – Summer, staff writer
- Study: Antibacterial Products Pose Risk to Health and the Environment
- Super Ear Infection Resists Approved Drugs
- Antibiotic Use Before First Birthday Linked To Asthma Later In Childhood