Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Study shows alarming rise in resistant staph infections but offers not insight on new treatment

Today New York Times offers something that most parents already know -- ear, nose and throat infections are increasingly not treatable with standard antibiotics.

What is needed is a study on how to address the problem and what investment is needed in the creation of new antibiotics.

Here's an excerpt from the story in hopes you can pull out something important to your children that I could not find:

Children are picking up more stubborn staph infections that don’t respond to common antibiotics, and the proportion their of ear, nose and throat infections resistant to standard drug treatment increased dramatically over a six-year period, a new study has found.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, known as MRSA, accounted for 28.1 percent of children’s head and neck staph infections in 2006, up from just 11.8 percent in 2001, according to researchers at Emory University in Atlanta. It once was rare for an ear, nose and throat doctor to see MRSA infections, noted Dr. Steven E. Sobol, the paper’s senior author and director of pediatric otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine. “That was the impetus for the study,” he said.

The report was published in this week’s issue of Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.

“Over the past four or five years, we’ve seen an increased prevalence of these infections that used to be caused by other organisms that are now being caused by MRSA,” said Dr. Sobol. The researchers excluded from their analysis skin infections not caused by staph.

Though the study captured information from only a limited number of laboratories, the report’s authors said the overall trend is clear, concluding that there is “an alarming nationwide increase” in the prevalence of MRSA infections in children. The change parallels an increase in so-called community-acquired cases of MRSA among relatively healthy people who aren’t hospitalized or infirm.

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