Health Team

MRSA infections strike children

Posted October 6, 2010

— Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, infections used to be a problem isolated to hospitals, but, over the last five years, there's been a dramatic increase of the infection outside of hospitals.

The illness is infecting otherwise healthy people, especially children.

Crystal Amos became concerned in August when her son, Jaden, 2, developed a sore on his arm.

“It started out on his arm and then it got real red and pink. I have pictures of it and it like gooshed out,” she said.

Cleaning the wound didn't help. Then, Amos said, the same type of sore spread to Jaden’s leg and buttocks.

“He was complaining every time he moved, where the sore was, that it hurts,” she said.

“The staph bacteria that live on our skin that have become resistant to antibiotics have exploded recently,” WakeMed pediatrician Dr. Mark Piehl said.

Piehl said a study at WakeMed showed 70 to 80 percent of previously healthy children with a skin infection have community-acquired MRSA.

Dangerous MRSA becoming more common Dangerous MRSA becoming more common

Many people have the bacteria on their skin but never have a problem, Piehl said.

“A small percentage, for whatever reason, will then get an infection if they have a break in the skin,” he said.

Standard antibiotics won't work against the organism. Jaden needed a few days in the hospital with stronger IV-administered antibiotics and surgery.

Earlier diagnosis means easier treatment.

“When a child has a skin infection, something that's red, painful and growing, it needs to be evaluated, and MRSA needs to be considered,” Piehl said.

Since Jaden had the infection once, he's more prone to it in the future, so his mother does her best to keep his skin clean and constantly look for any suspicious wounds.

To minimize the risk of a MRSA infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends basic hygiene, such as frequently washing hands and not sharing towels or other items, when an infection is present in the household or a day care setting.


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  • mountainlover Oct 7, 2010

    I got MRSA after breast cancer and almost died. This stuff is nothing to play around with. If you suspect that you have it, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE seek treatment immediately. DEMAND that the bacteria from your wound be cultured and identified.

  • JackandJill Oct 7, 2010

    My nephew who is 25 was just diagnosed with this. It started as a small boil on his foot and quickly spread. He had to be hospitalized and given strong IV antibiotics. The doctors treating him said they have seen a huge increase over the last several months.

  • justjean Oct 7, 2010

    To all the parents out there who insist the doctor give your child a antibiotic for a virus...please stop! Antibiotics do not work on viruses..only bacteria, learn the difference.

  • American56 Oct 6, 2010

    Ms. Amos, you definitely took your child to the right treatment facility. I injured my leg in May and tried another "Wound Healing Clinic" in Raleigh.After three months on a painful wound vac,and expensive Apligraf that failed my wound continued to grow and was very painful.I went to Wake Med. Wound Center, where they immediately diagnosed the MRSA infection. In two weeks of antibiotics and Hyperbariac Oxygen Therapy my wound is finally showing signs of healing. MANY THANKS TO THE ENTIRE STAFF AT WAKE MED WOUND are the best, as you continue to treat my wound and see me heal.