Dramatic surge seen in kids hospitalized with MRSA

CHICAGO – 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 hospital admissions 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.

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