Antibiotic-resistant staph infections on the rise in children, health officials say
NEW YORK Staph infections have been around for a long time, and often have been associated with hospitals or other healthcare settings. But according to health officials, staph infections have, in the past several years, emerged in the community as one of the most common causes of infections, and appear to be on the rise in children.
Known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, “staph” infections are resistant to more commonly prescribed antibiotics, according to officials. Doctors often have to turn to a stronger antibiotic, but many only do so as a last resort for fear that they too will become ineffective over time.
A recent CNN article reported that doctors are claiming to see more cases of antibiotic-resistant staph infections in children. The article also cited a study that was published recently in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery that found a 16% increase in pediatric MRSA infections in the head and neck during a recent six-year period.
“Certain factors have been associated with making it easier for MRSA to be transmitted. These factors include crowding; frequent skin-to-skin contact; compromised skin, such as cuts and abrasions; contaminated items or surfaces; and lack of cleanliness,” explained Jeff Hageman, an epidemiologist with CDC’s division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, during a 2007 podcast presented by CDC. “Some settings where these factors are common include schools, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities and day care centers. Now, while MRSA infections are commonly reported from these settings, it’s important to emphasize that MRSA is a prevalent cause of skin infections in the general community and can occur essentially anywhere.”
According to the latest CDC data available, nearly 95,000 people developed a serious MRSA infection (i.e., invasive) in 2005. Nearly 19,000 people died during a hospital stay related to these serious MRSA infections.
While the CDC did not break out how many children have been infected, it stated that serious MRSA disease is still predominantly related to exposures to healthcare delivery. About 85% of all invasive MRSA infections were associated with healthcare, and of those, about two-thirds occurred outside of the hospital, while about one third occurred during hospitalization, the agency stated.
The CDC also noted that, although the rates of disease varied between geographically diverse sites participating in surveillance, overall rates of disease were consistently highest among older persons (those 65 and older), African-Americans and males.
Jonas Brothers to donate funds to diabetes camps
NEW YORK Celebrity phenomenon the Jonas Brothers will donate $25,000 to diabetes camps this summer, the members announced at a Bayer Diabetes Care meeting.
The funds will be sent through their charitable foundation, Change for the Children Foundation.
The Jonas Brothers started Change for the Children Foundation to show that children can support other less fortunate children who are faced with adversity. Sixteen-year-old Nick Jonas, the youngest member of the band, has had Type 1 Diabetes for three years. Last August, he formed a partnership with Bayer Diabetes Care, starting his role as a Diabetes ambassador.
HHS reports on health concerns, launches health reform Web site
WASHINGTON Citing a growing chorus of alarm from Americans concerned about healthcare affordability and access, the Obama administration is ramping up pressure for a major overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.
The Department of Health and Human Services Thursdayissued a report that healthcare officials within the administration say lends urgency to the search for solutions to rising health costs and lack of health coverage among growing numbers of the uninsured.
The report, “Americans Speak on Health Reform: Report on Health Care Community Discussions”, summarizes comments from thousands of Americans who hosted and participated in community forums on health care across the United States. The report “highlights the needfor immediate action to reform health care,” according to HHS.
The report is available on a new Web site dedicated to health reform: www.healthreform.gov. Unveiled Thursday, the Web site provides viewing access to Thursdays White House Health Forum. HHS is encouraging consumers to share their thoughts about health reform with the Obama administration via the new Web site, and to sign a statement in support of comprehensive health reform this year.
“This new web site…and report ensure that when we discuss health reform, the American people will have an equal stake in the health reform efforts,” said HHS spokeswoman Jenny Backus. “Skyrocketing health care costs are creating enormous pressure on families, on businesses and our fiscal future.”
The Obama Administration, Backus asserted, “is committed to taking action this year on health reform and is calling on government, business, health care stakeholders and everyday Americans to come together to make it happen.”
More than 9,000 people signed up in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to host a discussion, and thousands more participated in the gatherings, according to the agency. After each event, guests and hosts were asked to fill out a survey and submit a group report to the Presidential Transition Team’s web site summarizing the group’s concerns and suggestions.