Background: Recognition of children with community-acquired (CA) infections caused by clindamycin-susceptible, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prompted a retrospective study in two Chicago hospitals conducted from 1987 through 1997.
Methods: Laboratory records of MRSA isolates, antibiotic susceptibilities and information from patient medical records were reviewed.
Results: One hundred eleven MRSA isolates from 103 children were studied with 51 isolates CA and 77 susceptible to clindamycin. The CA infections were less frequently associated with prior surgery (P = 0.0039) or a foreign body (P = 0.0001), and clindamycin-susceptible MRSA infections were less frequently associated with a foreign body (P = 0.001) compared with nosocomially acquired or clindamycin-resistant MRSA infections. Clindamycin-susceptible MRSA sources were mostly skin, wound or abscess (69%). Soft tissue diagnoses predominated (70%), but 16% were serious invasive infections. Ninety percent of clindamycin-susceptible MRSA were susceptible to erythromycin and/or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Antibiotic undertreatment (45%) or overtreatment (17%) of children with the clindamycin-susceptible MRSA occurred, but clindamycin appeared to be effective when used.
Conclusion: The impact of these organisms could be substantial if they become more frequent or widespread. S. aureus is a potential pathogen in large numbers of pediatric patients; microbiologic evaluation and both presumptive and definitive treatment of all these children may need to be changed.