Community MRSA Cases Increase in Children

Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections have increased 10 percent among children from 2005 and 2010, meanwhile the rates have fallen among adults, according to a CDC report.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that community-acquired invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections have increased among children — while the rates have fallen among adults. The agency states that the age- and race-adjusted incidence of invasive MRSA contracted outside health care settings increased 10.2 percent from 2005 to 2010, going from 1.1 to 1.7 per 100,000 children.

During that same period, hospital-onset and health care-acquired cases remained unchanged among children. Forty-two percent of pediatric cases were community acquired and not associated with health care or hospital stays, whereas most adult cases were health care-associated community onset. The MRSA strains associated with the typical community-acquired infection were much more common in health care-associated or hospital-onset cases in children compared with adults. This finding has important clinical implications because the strain found tends to be sensitive to drugs like clindamycin and trimethoprim sulfate, CDC researchers noted.

The finding underscores the need for pediatric-specific prevention strategies, say CDC researchers. Current prevention strategies for community-acquired MRSA focus on education and behavior change aimed at improving hygiene, although it’s not known whether these strategies are effective or widely adopted. Some interventions recommended for adults may not be recommended in children, said researchers.

Among the cases reported to the CDC surveillance system, most of the affected children (68 percent) had another underlying medical condition, most commonly prematurity or a skin condition such as eczema or abscesses.