April 19, 2011
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Guidelines needed to reduce nosocomial infections in pediatric units

Sabella C. JAMA. 2011;305:1480-1481.

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Pediatric patients require different treatment and prevention efforts than adults when it comes to preventing health care-associated infections, and guidelines that are specific to this population are needed, according to an editorial appearing online this week.

In the editorial, Camille Sabella, MD, and Charles B. Foster, MD, both of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, urge pediatric-specific measures to guarantee quality care in the areas of infection control and prevention practices.

The rates of hospital-related infections between adults and children differ because of the unique susceptibilities of each population.

Currently, the CDC defines hospital-acquired infections in children and adults almost identically, with some slight variations for children aged younger than 1 year.

“The commonality of definitions, however, belies the fact that children and adults differ in both susceptibility to infection and in the steps necessary to prevent these infections,” Sabella and Foster wrote. “Furthermore, identification of pediatric-specific risk factors for infection and the solutions needed to reduce pediatric [health care-associated infections] have not been well investigated.”

They said Surgical Care Improvement Project standards may fall short for reducing infections in children.

In their commentary, Sabella and Foster urged health officials “to separately address the issue of health care-associated infections in children,” and to devote “equal resources and energy” to the pediatric effort.

In an interview with Infectious Diseases in Children, Foster said: “Legislators and funding agencies need to encourage pediatric research by providing direct support for collaborative networks of children’s hospitals.”

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