Children's Hospitalization for Skin Infections Doubled

MRSA staph infections result in high hospital admissions

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Skin and soft-tissue infections among children, severe enough to require hospitalization, are more common than you might think. Since 2000, the numbers of kids hospitalized for such infections has more than doubled.

Severe skin infections are the seventh most common reason for hospital admission of children in the United States.

"Skin infection rates are rising among children."

Staph infections, known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are community-acquired - meaning that children are at risk of contracting them from other kids in the school environment, and not just in settings previously considered hot spots, such as hospitals and nursing homes.

Patrick Romano of the University of California, Davis led an investigation of hospital discharge data from over 40 states, to track trends in childhood hospitalization.

Researchers found that while the main conditions that caused hospital admissions remained the same, the rate of admissions for skin infections doubled, to nine per 10,000 children.

This worsening trend in skin infections is a dramatic increase, say the study's authors. The rates of accidental punctures and lacerations and the rate of decubitus ulcer increased by 25.6% and 34.5%, respectively - conditions that also lead to infections.

The emergence of community-acquired staph infection is a major cause of abscess-forming infections, the report states, and coincides with the jump in children's hospitalizations for skin infections.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America recently released guidelines for improved treatment of MRSA infections in adults and children.

The research also uncovered several other important trends in children's hospitalization since 2000:

  • Hospital cost per discharge increased by an average of 4.5 percent each year
  • More children are being enrolled in and covered by Medicaid and CHIP
  • The rate of potentially preventable admission to the hospital declined substantially, by 18 percent, with the South and West regions having the most significant declines
  • Overall, measures for patient safety in hospitals saw improvement
  • The rate of hospitalization in the 15-to-17 year age range decreased dramatically, associated with a decline in teen birth rates, the main reason for hospital admission among this age bracket

Results of the study were published in the July 2011 issue of Academic Pediatrics.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 22, 2011
Last Updated:
August 23, 2011