Drug-resistant infections on the rise among US children

Infections caused by drug-resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are on the rise among pediatric patients in the U.S., according to a new study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from a network of clinical microbiology laboratories serving approximately 300 hospitals across the nation. The team tested isolates of P. aeruginosa for susceptibility to multiple antibiotics. The samples were taken from patients between one and 17 years old from1999 to 2012.

Analysis revealed the rate of P. aeruginosa isolates resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics increased from 15.4 percent in 1999 to 26.0 percent in 2012. The proportion of strains resistant to carbapenems, a last-resort antibiotic for highly drug-resistant infections, increased from 9.4 percent in 1999 to 20.0 percent in 2012.

"Rates of [multi-drug-resistant] and [carbapenems-resistant] P. aeruginosa infection in children are rising nationally," concluded the study's authors. "Aggressive prevention strategies, including instituting antimicrobial stewardship programs in pediatric settings, are essential for combating antimicrobial resistance."

P. aeruginosa can cause ear infections, bloodstream infections and pneumonia. These infections are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

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