Alarming Rise in ‘Superbug’ Infections in US Children!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 01/24/2009 - 3:44pm.

Research scientists from Emory University issued a report on Monday, January 19, that the number of children in the United States becoming infected with the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the so-called drug-resistant 'superbug,’ is rising at an alarming rate. 

Of particular concern is the tendency to find these life-threatening Staph infections affecting the head and neck areas, with ear infections leaving children especially vulnerable to these bacteria.

Emory University’s Dr. Steven Sobol led a study of more than 21,000 children between one and 18 years of age who were treated at 300 US hospitals.  All cases under study involved infections of the head or neck and were caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.  All cases occurred between 2001 and 2006.  Full details of the study were published in the current issue of the medical journal, ‘Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.’

In 2001, only about 12% of the children’s Staph infections proved to be resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics.  That number grew to 28% by 2006.

Perhaps one of the most alarming aspects of the study’s findings is the faulty but general perception of MRSA as being an infection confined to hospitalized patients.  Of the MRSA infections identified in the children’s study, almost 60% of them occurred in children who had not been hospitalized.  Most of these infections were in the ear but other common sites for infection include the throat, sinuses, and nose.

Many physicians prescribe antibiotics as a standard first step in treating a Staph infection and often, when the patient has not been recently hospitalized, no further testing is done to determine if the infection stems from a readily treatable strain of Staph or if it’s the MRSA type.  When antibiotics are assumed to work without testing for MRSA, the time lost before MRSA is diagnosed and more aggressive treatment is begun can be crucial to the child’s recovery.

According to estimates published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), invasive infections by the MRSA bacteria affect 94,000 people each year.  Of them, an estimated 19,000 patients die from the infection.

January 20, 2009 - source MedHeadlines

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 01/24/2009 - 3:44pm.