(HealthDay News) – Over the past decade, pediatric methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) musculoskeletal infections have increased in frequency, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held from Oct. 26–29 in Orlando, FL.

Eric Sarkissian, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues studied a consecutive series of patients presenting with culture-positive S. aureus osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, or both from January 2001–June 2010, excluding postoperative and chronic infections.

The researchers identified 148 cases of acute musculoskeletal S. aureus infection (111 methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus [MSSA] and 37 MRSA). The proportion of musculoskeletal infections caused by MRSA increased from the start of the decade to its end (from 9% to 29%). There was a longer average duration of hospitalization in the MRSA group compared to the MSSA group (13 vs. 8 days). Multiple surgical procedures were more frequently performed in MRSA vs. MSSA patients (38% vs. 15%). In MRSA patients, infection-related complications, including deep venous thrombosis, septic emboli, septic shock, recurrent infection, and/or avascular necrosis, were more common than in MSSA patients (22% vs. 6%).

“Our findings support prior concern about the increased virulence of MRSA compared to MSSA infections,” Sarkissian said in a statement.

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