Washington, March 20 IANS | 7 months ago

More kids in the US are developing infections caused by a concerning type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is on the rise, an alarming study has claimed.

Still uncommon, the bacteria are increasingly found in children of all ages, especially those one-five years old, raising concerns about dwindling treatment options.

"These antibiotic-resistant bacteria have traditionally been found in health care settings but are increasingly being found in the community, in people who have not had a significant history of health care exposure," explained Latania K. Logan of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Researchers analysed resistance patterns in approximately 370,000 clinical isolates from pediatric patients - collected nationwide between 1999 and 2011.

They determined the prevalence of a resistant type of Gram-negative bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, that produces a key enzyme - extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL).

The enzyme thwarts many strong antibiotics.

Another indicator of ESBL prevalence, susceptibility to third-generation cephalosporins - an important class of antibiotics used to treat many infections - was also measured.

ESBLs were found in children across the country of all ages, but slightly more than half of the isolates with this resistance were from those one-five years old.

Nearly three-quarters (74.4 percent) of these bacteria were resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics.

ESBL-producing bacteria can spread rapidly and have been linked to longer hospital stays, higher health care costs and increased mortality, the study noted.

In a 2013 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called ESBLs a 'serious concern' and a significant threat to public health.

Additional drug development, keeping younger patients in mind, is needed, said the study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

(Posted on 20-03-2014)

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