Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Researchers have found a link between the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections and longer hospital stays in U.S. children.
"Antibiotic resistance increasingly threatens our ability to treat our children's infections," Dr. Sharon B. Meropol, Ph.D., of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies, Children's Hospital in Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and author of the study, said in a press release. "Efforts to control this trend are urgently needed from all of us, such as using antibiotics only when necessary, and eliminating agricultural use of antibiotics in healthy animals."
The study was comprised of data from 48 U.S. children's hospitals and 94,000 patients under 18 diagnosed with Enterobacteriaceae-associated infections between 2007 to 2015.
Over the eight-year study period, antibiotic-resistant infections increased from 0.2 percent in 2007 to 1.5 in 2015, a more than 700 percent increase, according to researchers.
Researchers found children with Enterobacteriaceae infections resistant to multiple antibiotics had 20 percent longer hospital stays than patients that did not have antibiotic-resistant infections.
In the past, antibiotic-resistant infections were mostly acquired after children were already in the hospital, but most of the children in the study with antibiotic-resistant infections already had the infection when they were admitted to the hospital. Researchers say this suggests resistant bacteria may now be spreading more in the community.
The study found older kids, children with other health conditions and those living in the Western United States were more likely to get these infections.