Background: Coinfection with influenza virus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes life-threatening necrotizing pneumonia in children. Sporadic incidence precludes evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy. We assessed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of critically ill children with influenza-MRSA pneumonia and evaluated antibiotic use.
Methods: We enrolled children (<18 years) with influenza infection and respiratory failure across 34 pediatric intensive care units 11/2008-5/2016. We compared baseline characteristics, clinical courses, and therapies in children with MRSA coinfection, non-MRSA bacterial coinfection, and no bacterial coinfection.
Results: We enrolled 170 children (127 influenza A, 43 influenza B). Children with influenza-MRSA pneumonia (N = 30, 87% previously healthy) were older than those with non-MRSA (N = 61) or no (N = 79) bacterial coinfections. Influenza-MRSA was associated with increased leukopenia, acute lung injury, vasopressor use, extracorporeal life support, and mortality than either group (P ≤ .0001). Influenza-related mortality was 40% with MRSA compared to 4.3% without (relative risk [RR], 9.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.8-22.9). Of 29/30 children with MRSA who received vancomycin within the first 24 hours of hospitalization, mortality was 12.5% (N = 2/16) if treatment also included a second anti-MRSA antibiotic compared to 69.2% (N = 9/13) with vancomycin monotherapy (RR, 5.5; 95% CI, 1.4, 21.3; P = .003). Vancomycin dosing did not influence initial trough levels; 78% were <10 µg/mL.
Conclusions: Influenza-MRSA coinfection is associated with high fatality in critically ill children. These data support early addition of a second anti-MRSA antibiotic to vancomycin in suspected severe cases.