Drug-Resistant Infection Once Found Only In Hospitals Now Present In Community

Drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a predominantly hospital-acquired infection, has been identified in children outside of the hospital setting with no identified risk factors, according to a study by researchers at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital, published in the February 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"This is the first published study to indicate that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections that are already resistant to many types of antibiotics are now found in non-chronically ill children outside of the hospital environment," said Robert S. Daum, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and a co-author of the study. "This suggests a significant change in the way the organism is spread among the population. We need additional research focused on the mechanisms of community-acquired infections."

The retrospective study looked at the medical records of children hospitalized for MRSA at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital. It compared the cases of children with MRSA from August 1988 to July 1990 with those seen from August 1993 to July 1995.

After examining the records of children with community-acquired MRSA during the two time periods, the researchers focused on children with no known risk factors for infection. Among eight children with "community-acquired" MRSA, only one case in the first two-year period lacked an identified risk factor, whereas 25 out of 35 cases in the second two-year period lacked an identified risk factor.

Risk factors for infection were described as previous hospitalization or frequent antibiotic use, history of intubation, an underlying chronic disorder, presence of a catheter, history of any surgical procedure, or household contact with a person who has identified risk factors.

The researchers also found interesting differences between hospital-acquired and com

Contact: Sherri McGinnis
University of Chicago Medical Center

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