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Skin Staph Infections - MRSA - In Children Under 18

Updated on December 7, 2010
CA-MRSA Skin Infection
CA-MRSA Skin Infection

Methycillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a well-known public health problem.

I just read a new study in the September issue of the North Carolina Medical JournalThe study was about Community Acquired - Methycillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, better known as a CA-MRSA infection, in children under 18 years old.

This is different than the MRSA (pronounced mersa) skin infection that has been acquired in a hospital setting. If a staph infection was acquired in the hospital, it is called HA-MRSA.

The Wake Forest University School of Medicine conducted the study.

This study was designed to look at children who reported to an emergency room with a skin abscess (skin infection with puss) that looked like it might be MRSA. If the child had not been admitted to a hospital within the last 30 days, and they had MRSA, it was determined to be community acquired. The study covered an 18-month period. 88 children were evaluated. They ranged in age from 2 weeks to 17 years.

After a CA-MRSA infection was diagnosed by the doctor, the wound was scraped and the sample was taken to a laboratory and tested to determine which antibiotics were the most effective against it.

The study concluded that community acquired-MRSA was responsible for almost 90 percent of the skin abscesses that were seen in the emergency department during that time.

The most interesting fact that came out of this study was that if an abscess was less than two inches (five centimeters) across, the wound would usually heal, if the doctor cleaned and debrided (removed dead or diseased tissue) the wound thoroughly, whether he administered antibiotics or not.

If the wound was larger than two inches, then the patient would only be healed if they were admitted to the hospital, and given aggressive antibiotic treatment.

One thing this study demonstrated is that CA-MRSA is not normally life threatening if it is taken care of while the size of the abscess is less than two inches. If you wait too long to treat it, then it can become life threatening.

If you see an infection on a child’s skin that has puss in it you need to treat it is as soon as possible, before it becomes a serious problem. *

* Note Since this article was written, my wife acquired up a case of MRSA at the local gym. We figure she must have picked it up from a wash basin in the shower room. She had a small cut on her elbow. It went from a sore to near-blood poisoning within less than 2 days. Her entire lower arm elbow became discolored and swollen.

The doctor at the emergency room recognized it right away. He gave her a bolus antibiotic injection and a follow-up prescription of Clindamycin to take home with her. Thank God it began to clear up within 3 or 4 days after her initial treatment.

MRSA is very real to us now.


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