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.
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.