January 22, 2009

Rise In MRSA Head & Neck Infections Among American Kids

MRSA infections among American children increased during a five-year-period up to the end of 2006, according to an article published in Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, January 2009 issue.

The article explains that up to 1980, MRSA infections were generally acquired in hospital. But, over the last decade, community-acquired MRSA (ca-MRSA) infections have become significantly more common in nursing homes, prisons, and among chronically ill patients and in individuals considered to be low risk.

In recent years, there have been increasing reports of community-acquired MRSA infections in children involving the head and neck.

Iman Naseri, M.D., Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta looked at data regarding pediatric head and neck infections that took place at over 300 hospitals across the USA during the period 2001 - 2006. Infection sites were divided into oropharyngeal/neck (head and neck), sinonasal (nose and sinuses) and otologic (ear), and demographic and antibiotic resistance patterns were reviewed.

21.6% of the 21,009 S. aureus infections that occurred during this period were MRSA. These rates rose from 11.8% to 28.1% during that five-year period. 34% of MRSA infections were found in the ears, 28.3% sinonasal, and 14.2% head and neck.

Let's hope that this disturbing trend does not continue and it reinforces the need to give antibiotics ONLY if a true bacterial infection exists and not for colds, URIs, laryngitis, etc for which antibiotics are worthless.

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Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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