A high prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among surgically drained soft-tissue infections in pediatric patients
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Over the past decade, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has emerged as a global problem, prompting extensive surveillance efforts. A previous study of S. aureus isolates at our institution revealed alarming increases in the prevalence of MRSA with no sign of plateau. However, evidence of MRSA in pediatric surgical patients remains largely anecdotal, as there are no published reports of institutional MRSA surveillance in the pediatric surgical literature. We conducted a retrospective review of incision and drainage (I and D) procedures at our institution from 1998 through 2004. All I and D procedures performed at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital were identified and the patients’ charts reviewed for pertinent information. A total of 99 I and D procedures were performed during the study period, ranging from 5 in 1998 to 32 in 2004. Among cultures with positive growth, 52 (65.8%) were MRSA, 14 (17.7%) were methicillin-sensitive S. aureus, and 13 (16.5%) were miscellaneous species. The number of MRSA isolates increases from 2 in 1998 to 20 in 2004, the largest increase occurring during the last 3 years of the study. A large proportion of MRSA isolates were resistant to antimicrobials from other classes, with over 70% being resistant to both erythromycin and cefazolin. A majority of MRSA isolates (71.4%) were obtained from patients with no record of prior hospitalization. Our analysis confirms a high prevalence of MRSA among soft-tissue infections requiring surgical drainage. In addition, a majority of MRSA isolates were resistant to multiple antimicrobials and were isolated from children without a previous documented exposure to the hospital milieu. Thus, pediatric surgeons should be aware of MRSA prevalence and resistance patterns in the local communities.