US Pharm. 2014;39(4):62.

Infections caused by a rare type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise in U.S. children, according to new study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. The bacteria are increasingly found in children of all ages, especially those 1 to 5 years old, causing worry about fewer and fewer treatment options.

“Some infections in children that have typically been treated with oral antibiotics in the past may now require hospitalization, treatment with intravenous drugs, or both, as there may not be an oral treatment option available,” said Latania K. Logan, MD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

The researchers, led by Dr. Logan, studied drug-resistance trends in some 370,000 bacterial cultures from pediatric patients collected between 1999 and 2011. They found that the prevalence is increasing in a resistant type of bacteria that produce a key enzyme called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), which resists many strong antibiotics, rendering them ineffective.

The prevalence of ESBL-producing bacteria, the scientists found, increased from 0.28% to 0.92% from 1999 to 2011. The study team also analyzed resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, which increased from 1.4% to 3.0%.