MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in infants is increasing. Colonization in an infant, their family member, or their caregiver can increase risk of acquiring this infection.
An infant who has been treated with antibiotics will also be at a higher risk of becoming infected with this staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotic treatments. Infants are less likely to spread MRSA because it is easy to control what they touch and have contact with.
Prompt treatment will prevent an infant from having complications.
Colonization with Infants
MRSA colonization is when these bacteria are present, but there are no symptoms. It usually occurs in the nose. A swab by a doctor can be done to test for it. If an infant has colonization it is usually because there is someone in the home with an infection or colonization (CA-MRSA) or it was acquired in the hospital (HA-MRSA) before the baby came home. Colonization is treated with antibiotics and preventive measures are taken until there are no further signs of the bacteria.
Additional Information on “Preventive Measures”
Risk Factors and Prevention
Anyone, especially children, who are treated with antibiotics for an infection, are at an increased risk of acquiring a MRSA infection. Avoiding antibiotics when possible and minimizing the use of antibacterial products will reduce the risk of it. When antibiotics are needed, it is important to follow dosing instructions and to finish the prescribed medicine.
Hand washing with soap and water before touching an infant is a good way to prevent infection. Infants’ hands should be kept clean with soap and water since they tend to put their hands in their mouth a lot. Some exposure to germs and bacteria that naturally occur in the environment is important to building a strong immune system, so excessive sanitation is not necessary.
Stop the Spread!
Infants don’t commonly spread MRSA because they are not mobile, so if they are infected they are not touching and contaminating surfaces and those around them. Infants aren’t able to pick at their nose like older children, so they are less likely to be spread MRSA from colonization in the nose.
Anyone who has been exposed to the bacteria, has the infection, or has colonization should be careful not to spread the infection to others, especially infants. Keeping the infection covered around an infant and consistent hand washing will prevent the spread of the bacteria to a baby.
Surfaces should be cleaned with detergent based (not antibacterial based) disinfectants, to prevent resistant bacteria in the home. Keeping the infection clean and covered when there is a risk of it contaminating others or surfaces will be important. Since the baby cannot shower, after bathing, the water should be changed and the baby should be bathed in the clean water.
How Are They Treated?
Like with adults and children, MRSA in infants is treated with antibiotics. Different antibiotics may need to be prescribed because not all of them are safe for infants. The two antibiotics commonly used to treat it in infants are Vancomycin and Clindamycin. The dosage is based on their weight.
MRSA in infants can be serious, but prompt treatment can prevent complication. Preventive measures and a strong immune system can prevent this infection in infants.