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Superbug more common in kids who’ve used antibiotics

Chicago Tribune/Reuters Health, August 12, 2011

Kids who get lots of antibiotics from their doctors are more likely to harbor the MRSA superbug, although it's still rare, a new study of British youngsters has found. While that doesn't prove the drugs are to blame for the antibiotic-resistant bacterium, it would make biological sense, researchers say. "This just provides more evidence to support redoubling our efforts to decrease antibiotic use," Daniel J. Diekema, MD, who was not involved in the new work, told Reuters Health. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, first arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s. But it wasn't until 1980, when it infected a burn victim in a Seattle hospital and caused a devastating outbreak, that doctors realized how serious the situation really was. It is estimated that in 2005, the bug caused severe infections in nearly 95,000 Americans and killed more than 18,500 of them.