A type of superbug has increased upwards of 700% in U.S. children since 2007, and it is associated with longer hospital stays and a trend toward a greater risk of death, a recent study in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society reveals. [1]

The source of the infections is Enterobacteriaceae bacteria, normal bacteria that become resistant to multiple drugs. The bacteria used to be limited to hospitals, but have been spreading into the community at large.

Read: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Cases Grow by 12000% in Just 7 Years

Study author Dr. Sharon Meropol said:

“Antibiotic resistance increasingly threatens our ability to treat our children’s infections. Efforts to control this trend are urgently needed from all of us, such as using antibiotics only when necessary, and eliminating agricultural use of antibiotics in healthy animals.” [1]

For the study, researchers assessed current trends by analyzing data on approximately 94,000 children under 18 who were treated at one of 48 U.S. hospitals for an Enterobacter infection between 2007 and 2015.

The team found that, by 2015, 1.5% of these infections were resistant to antibiotics, an increase from 0.2% in 2007. This represented a more than 700% increase over 8 years. These children had hospital stays that were 20% longer than patients with infections susceptible to antibiotics.

Read: ‘Superbugs’ Could Cost $100 Trillion – and Millions of Lives – by 2050

Older children, children with other health problems, and kids living in the Western U.S. were more likely to develop an Enterobacter infection. [2]

The majority of the drug-resistant infections had developed before the patients went to the hospital for treatment, which demonstrates that the general public is increasingly at risk. [1]

Superbugs can be deadly in patients of any age group, but they’re especially worrisome in children, as there are a limited number of stronger antibiotics approved for use in children compared to adults. [2]

In a news release, Meropol said:

“While the march of antibiotic resistance seems inexorable, informed and rigorous efforts to reverse this trend have been successful for other types of organisms, and are urgently needed within this context.” [1]

Sources:

[1] HealthDay

[2] Science Daily


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Post written byJulie Fidler:
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.