Among US children, more infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria

March 20, 2014, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Infections caused by a concerning type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise in U.S. children, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and available online. Although still uncommon, the bacteria are increasingly found in children of all ages, especially those 1-5 years old, raising concerns about dwindling treatment options.

Researchers led by Latania K. Logan, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, analyzed resistance patterns in approximately 370,000 clinical isolates from pediatric patients, collected nationwide between 1999 and 2011. Specifically, they determined the prevalence of a resistant type of Gram-negative bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, that produces a key enzyme, extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL). The enzyme thwarts many strong antibiotics. Another indicator of ESBL prevalence, susceptibility to third-generation cephalosporins—an important class of antibiotics used to treat many infections—was also measured.

The prevalence of ESBL-producing bacteria increased from 0.28 percent to 0.92 percent from 1999 to 2011; resistance to third-generation cephalosporins increased from 1.4 percent to 3.0 percent. ESBLs were found in across the country of all ages, but slightly more than half of the isolates with this resistance were from those 1-5 years old. Nearly three-quarters (74.4 percent) of these bacteria were resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics.

"These have traditionally been found in health care settings but are increasingly being found in the community, in people who have not had a significant history of health care exposure," Dr. Logan said. "In our study, though previous medical histories of the subjects were unknown, 51.3 percent of the children presented in the outpatient or ambulatory setting."

While the overall rate of these infections in children is still low, ESBL-producing bacteria can spread rapidly and have been linked to longer hospital stays, higher costs, and increased mortality, the study authors noted. In a 2013 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called ESBLs a "serious concern" and a significant threat to public health.

Physicians should obtain cultures for suspected bacterial infections to help determine which antibiotics are best, Dr. Logan said. "Some infections in children that have typically been treated with oral antibiotics in the past may now require hospitalization, treatment with intravenous drugs, or both, as there may not be an oral option available."

More research is needed to define risk factors for these infections in children, their prevalence in different settings, and their molecular epidemiology, Dr. Logan said. A companion study by several of the same researchers, also now available online in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, suggests that children with neurologic conditions are at higher risk for infections caused by ESBL-producing .

Additional drug development, keeping younger patients in mind, is also needed. "The overwhelming majority of current research for new pharmaceuticals against antibiotic-resistant organisms are in adults," Dr. Logan said. "New drug options will need to be available for young children."

Explore further: Hospital food safety measures reduce risk of contaminated hospital food

Related Stories

Hospital food safety measures reduce risk of contaminated hospital food

March 7, 2014
A new study found more than 80 percent of raw chicken used in hospitals in food for patients and staff was contaminated with a form of antibiotic resistant bacteria called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing ...

Antibiotics – friend and foe?

November 18, 2013
European Antibiotic Awareness Day is marked on the 18th November every year. This year in Norway, a seminar for health care providers about antibiotic use and resistance will be held, as well as several local events around ...

One in three patients with bloodstream infections given inappropriate therapy

March 18, 2014
Growing drug resistance, a high prevalence of S. aureus bacteria and ineffective antibiotics prescribed to one in three patients are among the challenges facing community hospitals in treating patients with serious bloodstream ...

CDC addresses burden, threat of antibiotic resistance

January 6, 2014
(HealthDay)—The burden and threats posed by antibiotic resistance infections are discussed in a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Study spotlights ESBL bacteria in Danish chicken meat

September 25, 2012
Over 50 % of the chicken meat that Denmark imports contains extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL), enzymes produced by some bacteria that make them resistant to certain antibiotics that are important in the treatment of ...

New research gives clues of antibiotic use and resistance in US children's hospitals

November 20, 2013
Two studies published in the December issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology show antibiotic resistance patterns for children have held stable over a seven-year period and surgical patients in U.S. children's ...

Recommended for you

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

NeuroNext biomarker study explores natural history of infantile-onset SMA

January 9, 2018
Research led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to define the natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been "critical" to accelerate the development of effective therapies and hasten ...

No link between childhood lead levels, later criminality

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)— Exposure to higher levels of lead during early childhood can affect neurological development—but does that mean affected kids are doomed to delinquency?

Early puberty in girls may take mental health toll

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—A girl who gets her first menstrual period early in life—possibly as young as 7—has a greater risk for developing depression and antisocial behaviors that last at least into her 20s, a new study suggests.

Technology not taking over children's lives despite screen-time increase

December 21, 2017
With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University ...

Higher blood sugar in early pregnancy raises baby's heart-defect risk

December 15, 2017
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the baby's risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.