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Children's Health

'Superbug' MRSA Infections Aren't Dropping in Kids

While overall rates still low for kids, study finds infants and black children face higher risk
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They found a total of 876 pediatrics cases, 39 percent of them in infants, according to the study.

A little more than one-third of the cases were hospital-onset infections, while 42 percent were community-associated infections, which can occur through skin-to-skin contact in schools or daycare centers. The remaining 23 percent were health-care associated community-onset infections.

The incidence of community-acquired infections rose by 10 percent during the study time period.

Iwamoto said that if rates are to drop for older infants, "we need to focus on prevention of MRSA infections outside of hospitals."

She said that while this study confirmed a racial disparity in MRSA infections, it's not clear why that disparity exists. The presence of underlying disease might increase the susceptibility to infection, or socioeconomic factors, such as household crowding, might play a role too, she said. Additional studies need to be done to understand why this disparity exists so that something can be done to address it, she said.

An outside expert said the new study is helpful for those working to control MRSA.

"Continuing epidemiology surveillance like this is a way to get a sense of what's going on," said Dr. Kenneth Bromberg, director of the Vaccine Research Center and chair of pediatrics at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City.

While the researchers are figuring out why infections continue to be high in babies and black children, there's an easy way everyone can help stop the spread of infections, he said.

"The most effective means for preventing MRSA and other infectious diseases is normal hand hygiene using plain old soap," Bromberg said. "Sing 'Happy Birthday' two times slowly while you're washing your hands, and you've done it right. Hand washing is key in and out of the hospital."

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