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What Are the Causes of MRSA in Babies?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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The causes of methicillin resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) is the same no matter what age the patient may be, but babies may be especially susceptible under some conditions. MRSA in babies and adults is caused by staph bacteria that are resistant to normal methicillin, a popular antibiotic which is often administered orally in pill or liquid form. While babies may have the bacteria on their bodies nearly all the time, it only becomes a problem if the baby has wound that becomes infected with this particular type of staph bacterium. One reason MRSA in infants may be prevalent is simply because of some wounds that are commonly associated with newborns.

One of the common areas of MRSA in babies is after a wound caused during a circumcision procedure. The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers reports that male infants are 12 times more likely to acquire MRSA than babies who are not circumcised. Wounds from circumcision, or any other surgical procedure, should be dressed and cared for as directed until healed.

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Another cause of MRSA in babies is infection around the belly button or remnants of the umbilical cord. This is often a wound that takes a great deal of time to heal in newborns, often a week or longer. Further, many parents may not understand how the area should look as it heals, which may give MRSA bacteria a chance to become even more established. If there is prolonged bleeding for more than a few days, or the area does not seem to heal, the baby should see a pediatrician.

Other hospital or long-term care stays may also result in a higher incidence of MRSA in infants. This is especially true if the baby is admitted into the hospital after being wounded, or receives wounds or surgical incisions once in the hospital. While hospitals strive to maintain as sterile of an environment as possible, staph bacteria is found on everyone’s skin, and is impossible to completely eradicate it. Hospital procedures may be responsible for as many as nine out of 10 MRSA cases. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are often more prevalent in hospitals.

One of the other reasons incidents of MRSA in babies may be so high, or of such a concern, is because babies have not developed sophisticated immune systems. Therefore, infants who are wounded may be more susceptible to MRSA than adults, simply because adults have the ability to fight the infection naturally. While this is not a direct cause of MRSA in babies, it is a secondary factor that makes babies more prone to such infections.

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Discuss this Article

bluedolphin
Post 3

@feruze-- She could have gotten it from another baby, or even from you.

Sometimes people can carry the MRSA virus in their system without any apparent symptoms. Since babies have weak immune systems, the virus can cause infections more easily in them.

You might want to get tested for MRSA as parents to see if you passed the virus to your daughter. If you also have it, you should get treated so that you don't pass it to her again and again. If it's not you, then there is little point in trying to find the cause. Just make sure she gets her MRSA infection treatment and keep her away from other kids until the infection is gone.

bear78
Post 2
I just found out that my nine-month old daughter has MRSA staph infection. I'm so scared right now. I know that MRSA can be dangerous and I'm so upset and confused about my nine-month old getting it. I have no idea how this happened!

Could she have gotten it from another baby, because she does sit and play with toddlers at the playground sometimes? But I've never noticed another baby with any sores or wounds.

turquoise
Post 1

My sister-in-law had an MRSA infection while she was pregnant. She got treated for it but somehow it passed on to the baby during delivery.

Thankfully, the hospital tested my nephew for MRSA right after birth so the infection was caught early and treated.

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