Johns Hopkins finding more MRSA in kids
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children's Center have found that more kids are coming in with community-aquired MRSA, the super bug that is often resistent to antibiotics.
The kids aren't always sick from MRSA, but are carriers who pose a threat to other patients.
The researchers have found that screening all patients as they come into the ICU and then every week is helpful in controlling the spread.
The researchers said it was once very uncommon for kids to come in with community-acquired infections with the drug-resistent strains of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureaus. But the findings, to be published in the April edition of the journal Emerging Infectous Diseases, show that the Hopkins policy of screening everyone is beneficial.
This infection causes skin and soft-tissue infections, but in sick people or those with compromised immune systems, it can be deadly.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital began screening all patients in 2007 regardless of symptoms.
“MRSA has become so widespread in the community, that it’s become nearly impossible to predict which patients harbor MRSA on their body,” said lead investigator Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Hopkins Children’s, in a statement.
“Point-of-admission screening in combination with other preventive steps, like isolating the patient and using contact precaution, can help curb the spread of dangerous bacterial infections to other vulnerable patients.”
The hopkins study found 6 percent of the 1,674 children admitted to the pediatric ICU at Hopkins Children’s between 2007 and 2008 carried MRSA but had no active infection. Of the 72 who tested positive, 60 percent had the community-acquired strain and 75 percent of the carriers had no history of MRSA. It was more common in kids 3 years old on average, and among African-American children, though researchers don't know why. Eight patients acquired MRSA while in the ICU, with 4 developing signs of infection.
The research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Thomas Wilson Sanitarium for Children in Baltimore and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other investigators in the study included Dr. Karen Carroll, Tracy Ross, Alexander Shangraw and Dr. Trish Perl, all of Hopkins.