Pediatric hospitalizations due to skin infections rise, reports AHRQ

August 1, 2008

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) report News and Numbers, children ages 4 and younger were hospitalized more than 34,000 times in 2006 due to skin infections, a 150% increase since 2000.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) report News and Numbers, children ages 4 and younger were hospitalized more than 34,000 times in 2006 due to skin infections, a 150% increase since 2000.

The data is part of an AHRQ study of hospitalization trends among children 17 and younger. The study also shows that skin infections jumped from the 17th most common reason for a child to be hospitalized in 2000 to the 8th most common reason as of 2006. The most commonly afflicted areas of the body were the face, legs, and buttocks.

The AHRQ also showed that hospitalizations from skin infections for 15- to 17-year-olds jumped from about 4,900 in 2000 to about 10,500 in 2006. The reason for this rise is unknown, but may be linked to bacteria?s increasing resistance to antibiotics.

Respiratory distress remained the most common cause of childhood hospitalizations, with over 510,000 children being admitted in 2006 for asthma and other respiratory diseases. Other leading reasons in 2006 include digestive disorders (310,000), nervous system disorders (174,000), adolescent pregnancy (174,000), metabolic/endocrine disorders (147,000), and mental disorders (140,000).

The report also states that over 6 million children ages 17 and younger are hospitalized annually, accounting for 17% of all hospital stays. Almost 75% of these stays were for children younger than 1 year old.

In addition, about 73% (4.8 million) of discharges were for infants 1 year old and younger, of whom 4.1 million were newborns. There were about 656,000 infants hospitalized in the first year of life (post-birth). Children ages 1 to 4 years made up 9% of discharges, 5- to 9-year-olds made up 5%, 19- to 14-year-olds comprised 6%, and 15- to 17-year-olds accounted for 8% of pediatric discharges.

Other data included rates on adolescent pregnancy. This condition made up 8% of all non-neonatal pediatric stays. It declined 13% from 196,000 stays in 2000 to 174,000 stays in 2006. The 2006 statistic represented a 26% decrease from 1997, when 220,700 stays were for adolescents.

The full report can be accessed here.