Emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue infections as a common cause of hospitalization in United States children

J Pediatr Surg. 2010 Oct;45(10):1967-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2010.05.009.


Background: Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was first observed in pediatric patients in the late 1990s. Since then, possible risk factors for contracting CA-MRSA have been hypothesized, but supporting studies are limited.

Methods: We analyzed hospital discharge records for patients with a principal International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for skin and soft tissue infections, collected from 1996 to 2006 by the United States National Center for Health Statistics. Noninstitutional, short-stay hospitals in the United States participated. The sample was limited to patients aged ≤19 years. Staphylococcus aureus and CA-MRSA were defined by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes. Data weights were used to derive regional and national estimates. Population estimates were obtained from the US Bureau of the Census, and incidence rates were reported per 100,000 persons. Risk factors for CA-MRSA were first identified using χ(2) and χ(2) goodness-of-fit tests, then by multivariable logistic regression.

Results: These data represent 616,375 pediatric discharges for skin and soft tissue infections from U.S. hospitals between 1996 and 2006. This represents approximately 69.9 hospitalizations for skin and soft tissue infections per 100,000 U.S. children per year. Staphylococcus aureus and CA-MRSA accounted for 19.6% and 9.6% of these cases, respectively. The rate of hospitalization for CA-MRSA skin and soft tissue infections increased dramatically over the study period; from less than one case per 100,000 in 1996 to 25.5 cases per 100,000 in 2006. Rates of CA-MRSA varied by region, with the South region having the highest rate (11.5 per 100,000 US children), followed by the West (5.2), Northeast (3.4), and Midwest (3.2). Peak CA-MRSA incidence occurred from May to December; however, the incidence in the South region was consistently higher than other regions for most months and the period of peak incidence was longer than other regions. Independent risk factors for CA-MRSA included survey year, race, geographic region, hospital size, and health insurance status (P < .0001 for all risk factors).

Conclusions: Pediatric hospitalizations for methicillin-susceptible S. aureus and CA-MRSA skin and soft tissue infections are on the rise. Possible risk factors for CA-MRSA infection include White race, residence in the South region of the United States, and lack of health insurance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Soft Tissue Infections / drug therapy
  • Soft Tissue Infections / epidemiology*
  • Soft Tissue Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / microbiology*
  • United States / epidemiology