Difficult-to-treat MRSA infections found in alarming numbers by ENTs and pediatricians.
Staph germs, present on the skin of everyone, are becoming increasingly resistant to standard antibiotic regimens. The Washington Post reported on January 20, 2009, that these MRSA bacteria are being found in "alarming" numbers in deeper tissue infections in ears, sinuses and tonsil and throat. From 2001 to 2006, the percentage of MRSA infecdtions among 21,000 pediatric head and neck patients more than doubled from 12 percent to 28 percent.
The study is reported in the Archives of Otolarnygology, and based on nationwide data from more than 300 hospitals. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The study did not research the severity or morbidity of the infections. It was estimated that forty percent of the infections were acquired in hospitals, meaning that about sixty percent were acquired outside institutions: formerly, these germs were thought to be acquired only in institutional settings.
By definition, these bacteria are resistant to penicllin-based antibiotics. Doctors report that a "worrisome" 46 percent are also resistant to Clindamycin and are developing further resistance to all other classes of antibiotic. Other doctors dispute that suggestion under the belief that the latter resistance has developed only in institutions.
It is worth remembering that scientists now believe that most deaths from the World War I flu pandemic (which occurred, obviously, before antibiotics were "invented") resulted from concomitant bacterial infections and not from the original flu virus.