Children are increasingly at risk of contracting the methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection (MRSA) from hospitals, according to latest US studies.
These Chicago based results show MRSA is no longer limited to adults with known risk factors such as intravenous drug abuse, and that the bug is not just confined to teaching hospitals, but is becoming more prevalent among outpatients in the community.
The paediatric wards of Chicago University Hospitals identified 32 cases of MRSA in 1988-1990 and 56 cases in 1993-5. Eight of those in the earlier period and 35 of the latter were acquired in the community. Only one of the 1988-90 cases lacked an identified risk factor, whereas 25 were lacking from the 1993-1995 cases.
There was no difference in sex or race, but there was a significant increase in toddlers from three to 36 months acquiring the infection (JAMA, 1998; 279: 593-8).