Study: Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Rising in Children

By on 12:51 PM

A new study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society indicates that infections caused by a type of bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics are occurring more frequently in U.S. children.

Infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative enteric Enterobacteriaceae (MDR-GNE) are also associated with longer hospital stays, a trend towards greater risk of death and increased likelihood of spreading.

The retrospective study, titled "Incidence and Outcomes of Infections Caused by Multidrug-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Children, 2007–2015," examined data from 48 U.S. children's hospitals maintained by the Pediatric Health Information System, a comparative pediatric database. From these hospitals, there were approximately 94,000 patients under the age of 18 who were diagnosed with Enterobacteriaceae-associated infections between 2007 and 2015.

The data revealed that the proportion of infections caused by bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics increased from 0.2% in 2007 to 1.5% in 2015. That is a more than 700% increase in prevalence.

Other study findings including the following:
  • Children with Enterobacteriaceae infections resistant to multiple antibiotics had hospitals stays that were 20% longer than patients with infections that were susceptible to antibiotics.
  • Most of the resistant infections were present when the children were admitted to the hospital, suggesting the bacteria may be increasingly spreading in the community.
  • Older kids, children with other health conditions and those living in the Western United States were more likely to have the infections.

"Antibiotic resistance increasingly threatens our ability to treat our children's infections," said study author Sharon B. Meropol, MD, PhD, of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, in a press release. "Efforts to control this trend are urgently needed from all of us, such as using antibiotics only when necessary (an essential component of an antimicrobial stewardship program), and eliminating agricultural use of antibiotics in healthy animals."

The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.