SATURDAY, Oct. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized children are developing antibiotic-resistant staph infections of their musculoskeletal systems in rising numbers, resulting in longer hospital stays, more surgeries and other related complications, a new study finds.
The researchers looked at the number of cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) musculoskeletal infections at a large U.S. children's hospital between 2001 and 2010.
"Methicillin-sensitive" means an infection does respond to treatment by the antibiotic.
During the study decade, there were 111 MSSA and 37 MRSA cases. The proportion of MRSA cases rose from 9 percent in 2001 to 29 percent in 2010, a threefold increase. Compared to those with MSSA, kids with MRSA had longer hospital stays (13 days versus 8 days) and were more likely to have multiple surgeries (38 percent versus 15 percent).
Children with the antibiotic-resistant infections were also more likely to have complications such as blood clots, septic shock, recurrent infection and cell death (22 percent versus 6 percent), according to the study presented Saturday at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference, in Orlando, Fla.
"As MRSA infections rise, prompt recognition and aggressive treatment of MRSA musculoskeletal infections are critical to avoiding life-threatening complications, and improving patient outcomes," study lead author Eric Sarkissian said in an academy news release.
"Our findings support prior concern about the increased virulence of MRSA compared to MSSA infections," Sarkissian said. "Optimizing patient outcomes will require increased health-care provider vigilance, early broad-spectrum antibiotic administration and aggressive surgical management."
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about MRSA.