Dangerous bacteria are on the rise worldwide
Fear of so-called antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing all over the world. Researchers have now found that such dangerous strains of bacteria are often even more dangerous for children than for adults. And according to the experts, these dangerous bacteria are becoming more common.
Scientists at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria are already a major threat to adults, but the risk to children is even greater. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society".
Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are becoming increasingly common
Surely we are all afraid to become infected with a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The threat posed by such bacterial strains has grown steadily in recent years. Doctors have long warned of the negative effects if bacteria can no longer be treated with the current medication.
Doctors examine cases of enterobacteria in children's hospitals
There seem to be some of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are particularly dangerous for children. And the worst thing is that such bacteria are becoming more common, say the experts from the United States. This was the finding of the doctors in their current investigation, which evaluated the records of 48 children's hospitals. The doctors looked specifically for cases of infections caused by a family of bacteria, which are referred to as enterobacteria or Enterobacteriaceae.
What is Gammaproteobacteria?
These bacteria belong to the genus so-called Gammaproteobacteria. Many such bacteria are typical residents of our gut. However, there are also a number of bacteria in this class that do not live in the human intestine, but still belong to the family of bacteria, the experts explain.
Researchers are examining the data from 94,000 infected children
When examining 94,000 children infected with bacteria, it became clear that the rates of drug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections gradually increased between 2007 and 2015, the scientists explain. The children were all under 18 at the time. The infections were always associated with a longer hospital stay, the doctors report.
Most of the cases found did not occur in hospitals
Unlike in the past, the majority of the cases found occurred outside of hospitals. This is particularly bad, because it suggests that the so-called super-pathogens already appear to be firmly rooted in our community, the researchers say.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to treat infections in children
The increasing resistance to antibiotics is increasingly threatening our ability to effectively treat the infections that occur in children, explains study author Professor Sharon B. Meropol from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
The handling of antibiotics must be changed
It is imperative that we make every effort to stop or better control this dangerous trend. The experts say that antibiotics should really only be used when there is an urgent need. The use of antibiotics in healthy agricultural animals should also be avoided.
Enterobacteriaceae learn quickly and adapt
Thanks to their potentially weaker immune system and generally less powerful medication, children are particularly susceptible to antibiotic-resistant infections, the doctors explain. Resistant Enterobacteriaceae are a particularly dangerous type of so-called super-pathogens. The reason for this is that these bacteria learn particularly quickly. This is how they manage to fend off almost every available drug, the scientists explain.
700 percent increase noted within a few years
The rate of multi-resistant infections skyrocketed from 0.2 percent of all Enterobacteriaceae infections in 2007 to 1.5 percent in 2015. This is an increase of 700 percent, the doctors stress.
Resistant infections require an average of 20 percent longer hospital stays
If a resistant infection was present during hospital stays, it lasted an average of 20 percent longer. The difference in mortality was not statistically significant, but such resistant infections appear to be somewhat more lethal, the authors say.
Children from the western half of the United States are particularly at risk
Older children with other health problems and children in the western half of the United States generally appear to be at higher risk for such resistant infections, the researchers say. Three quarters of the cases found were probably not from hospitals, the doctors add.
An increase in antibiotic-resistant infections is inevitable in the long run
The current study is just the latest study to find the more common antibiotic-resistant infections in children. Although there have been modest successes in treatment, the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections remains inevitable for a long time, the authors explain. (as)