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Hospitalizations soar for children with skin infections

Children aged 4 and younger were hospitalized with skin infections more than 34,000 times in 2006, a 150 percent increase from 2000, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The data are included in a new AHRQ analysis of hospitalization trends among children 17 and younger. It shows skin infections ranked as the 8th most common reason for child hospitalizations in 2006, up from 17th in 2000. The legs, face, and buttocks were most common sites for infections among hospitalized children in 2006. Reasons for the rise in hospitalizations are unclear but may be in part linked to increasing resistance to antibiotics.

AHRQ's new analysis also showed:

  • Hospitalizations for skin infections also increased sharply for youths aged 15 to 17—from about 4,900 in 2000 to about 10,500 in 2006.
  • Respiratory diseases remained the top reason for child hospitalizations. About 513,000 children were admitted in 2006 for pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, influenza or other respiratory diseases.

Other leading admissions of children in 2006 included: gastritis, intestinal infections, and other digestive disorders (310,000); meningitis, epilepsy and other nervous system disorders (174,000); adolescent pregnancy (174,000); diabetes, nutritional deficiencies and other metabolic or endocrine disorders (147,000); and depression, bipolar disease and other mental disorders (140,000).

For more information, go to HCUP Statistical Brief #56: Hospital Stays for Children, 2006. The report uses 2006 statistics from the Kids' Inpatient Database, a database of the hospital inpatient stays of children age 17 and younger in short-term, non-Federal hospitals.

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