Rates of Children With Drug-Resistant Staph Infections Increases

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 number of children being hospitalized with staph infections. An overuse of antibiotics may be to blame.

child getting examined

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 an increase of MRSA infections, the study shows. In some regions of the US, local strains of MRSA have become resistant to 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

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Summer is a mom of three, living life in the slow lane along historic Route 66. She writes, homeschools, gardens, and is still trying to learn how to knit.

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