Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Nearly 8 percent of local preschoolers inTaiwan are infected with a multi-drug resistant bacteria that causesvarious types of infections, pediatricians said Tuesday, citing theresults of a study.
The study, which involved 6,000 participants between 2 months and5 years of age in 2008, showed that an average 7.8 percent ofchildren carry the methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)bacteria in the inner lining of their noses, said Doctor ChenChih-jung of Chang Guang Children's Hospital Division of PediatricInfectious Diseases.
The carrier rate was found to be 9.5 percent among childrenliving in the northern regions of the country, which was higher thanin the central and southern areas, where the rate was 7.7 percent and6.2 percent, respectively.
Overall, the rate was slightly higher than in other countries,said Chen, suggesting that the environment in Taiwan was the majorcause.
He said an estimated 30 to 50 percent of healthy adults carryMRSA, but children are at a greater risk of developing MRSA-relatedproblems, such as pneumonia and wound infections, because theirimmune systems are weaker.
The chances of contracting MRSA are higher among children two tosix months, those in kindergarten, and those with siblings, the studyfound.
However, children who were breastfed have greater resistance toMRSA, according to the findings of the study.
Citing another study that was conducted over a four-year periodfrom 2005, Chen said the number of children with community-acquiredMRSA is on the rise in the country. Parents should make sure theirchildren develop the habit of washing their hands regularly, heurged.
Huang Yhu-chering, another pediatrician at the hospital, notedthat although there has been a decrease in hospital-acquired MRSA dueto disease control measures in recent years, the bacteria is stillrampant in communities.
The findings of the study were published in the Journal ofClinical Microbiology in January, 2011.
(By Nancy Liu)