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More severe bone infections, health complications in children linked to MRSA, researchers find
Date:6/29/2008

DALLAS June 30, 2008 The emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a major pathogen has led to more complications and longer hospital stays for children with acute bone infections, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report.

Acute osteomyelitis, a bone infection that predominantly occurs in children, is usually caused by the staph bacteria. Treatment has traditionally been straightforward because most S. aureus bacteria can be killed with existing antibiotics.

Recently, however, more children with osteomyelitis have been developing the more severe, antibiotic-resistant, community-associated MRSA, resulting in more complications and prolonged antibiotic therapy and hospital stays.

"This study shows the transition from the normal S. aureus to the methicillin-resistant one that everybody calls the superbug," said Dr. Octavio Ramilo, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and senior author of a study available online and in the July/August issue of the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. "What's important about this is not only that MRSA infections are harder to treat because they are more resistant to the traditional antibiotics, but they are also more aggressive and cause more severe disease manifestations. This is reflected very clearly in this study."

Dr. Asuncin Mejas, assistant professor of pediatrics and co-lead author, said MRSA isn't a new problem among children.

"But the MRSA that we used to see was acquired in the hospital," she said. "This is a different strain that patients acquire in the community. Now, we see kids with osteomyelitis who have bone abscesses in the legs and who get blood clots that lead to pulmonary embolisms.

"We don't want to alarm parents, but kids who limp or have backaches and fever after an otherwise minor trauma need to be evaluated by a physician," Dr. Mejas said.

Dr. Ramilo said osteomyelitis might be more com
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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More severe bone infections, health complications in children linked to MRSA, researchers find
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