ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
Healthy Eating While On Vacation
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Add your Article

MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community

MONDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotic-resistant infections around the head and neck are on the rise among American children, a new report indicates.

The finding suggests that tougher strains of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus -- referred to as MRSA because of their resistance to the antibiotic methicillin -- are moving beyond the traditional confines of hospitals and into the community at large.

"We certainly found that the emergence of resistant staph head and neck infections in pediatric settings is on the rise," said study co-author Dr. Steven E. Sobol, director of the department of pediatric otolaryngology at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Sobol and his colleagues reported the findings in the January issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery.

The building threat to children compounds a trend toward more community-based MRSA infections previously observed among prison, nursing home, and chronically ill patient populations, the researchers noted.

In the latest study, the authors reviewed data concerning pediatric infections that had been collected between 2001 and 2006 in a national database that amasses anti-microbial drug resistance test results from labs working for more than 300 hospitals across the country.

The research team found that of the more than 21,000 infections that had occurred among children during the study period, almost 22 percent were resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. Overall, MRSA head and neck infection rates had more than doubled, from about 12 percent to just over 28 percent.

About one-third of MRSA infections affected the ears, while about 28 percent impacted the nasal and sinus regions. Head and neck MRSA infections accounted for about 14 percent of the total.

Sobol stressed, however, that the apparent rising MRSA risk to children is not yet cause for alarm.

"I don't want to generate panic," he said. "And really, there's no reason for parents and children to change their lives. Reducing risk for infection is all about common sense and practicing normal hygienic measures, such as encouraging children to wash their hands and avoid contact with other ill children in crowded situations."

"But it's also important that pediatricians recognize the importance of this and suspect the possibility among children who don't respond to normal measures taken to deal with a cold or infection," he said. "And certainly, when a normal infection or cold seems worse than a parent would expect it to be, then parents should seek medical attention from their pediatrician quickly. Don't panic. Just be aware."

"Meanwhile, the underlying cause for the rise in pediatric infections is the subject of ongoing study at our institution, because we don't yet know exactly why it's occurring," Sobol acknowledged. "But we suspect is that it's due to a combination of factors."

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center, agreed.

"On the one hand, it could be that physicians might be less cautious in their use of antibiotics when it comes to children," he noted. "This is even though the American Pediatric Association has really come out strongly for physicians to be careful with administration of antibiotics to children. It also could, in part, be that we're simply monitoring case trends better than we had in the past, and so we're finding it in greater numbers among children than before."

But Tierno hypothesized that MRSA is simply on the rise outside traditional hospital settings.

"I suspect," added Tierno, "that the primary reason children might be more likely to come down with a MRSA in the community is that the community is now a reservoir for antibiotic-resistant organism, whereas before it was primarily just the hospital. And so, children just reflect that shift as a significant part of the community."

Alan Mozes

More information

For more on MRSA, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Steven E. Sobol, M.D., director, department of pediatric otolaryngology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Philip Tierno, M.D., Ph.D., director, clinical microbiology and immunology, New York University Langone Medical Center, and author, The Secret Life of Germs and Protect Yourself Against Bioterrorism; January 2009, Archives of OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery

Last Updated: Jan. 19, 2009

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