Washington: Children with bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a common antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are less likely to die than adults with this condition, says a study.
But children may have high complication rates that increase each day infections linger untreated, said the study that highlights the urgent need for effective intervention.
"Knowing that the risk of complications increases with every additional day the bacteria are detected in the bloodstream highlights the importance of early and aggressive therapy for these infections," said lead study author Rana Hamdy, Director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme at Children's National Health System in Washington, DC.
In adults, MRSA infections that reach the bloodstream are responsible for numerous complications and fatalities, killing 10 per cent to 30 per cent of patients.
In the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers studied the outcomes of children with MRSA bacteremia, or blood infections, in patients younger than 18 from three large, regional children's hospitals.
These 232 patients were hospitalised at centres in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Salt Lake City from 2007 to 2014, after having positive blood cultures for MRSA.
The results showed that only two per cent of pediatric patients died from their infections. However, about one-quarter developed serious complications, including blood clots caused by an immune response to the infection or infection that spread to distant sites, such as the heart.
The median duration of bacteremia in children was two days, compared with seven days for adults.
With each passing day, the researchers found, the risk of developing a complication rose by 50 per cent for kids.
Overall, about one-third of children experienced treatment failure, defined by bacteremia that persisted longer than three days, a recurrence of bacteremia within 30 days after the start of treatment or death from this condition, the study said.