April 29, 2023 | 2:27 p.m
Doctors across the country are sounding the alarm about a rise in dangerous brain infections in children.
A mysterious spike in fatal brain infections in children has doctors in southern Nevada on high alert.
Southern Nevada Health District researchers reported that there were 18 cases of brain lesions in children last year, compared to an average of five reported cases per year between 2015 and 2021.
Ulcers are rare and usually prevent the spread of a bacterial or fungal infection.
The data was released at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual Epidemiological Intelligence Service conference.
The CDC reports Cases began to increase nationally in the summer of 2021 and peaked in March 2022.
However, the CDC said the rate of infections from March to May 2022 returned to baseline and was “consistent with historical seasonal fluctuations seen since 2016.”
Dr. Taryn Bragg, associate professor at the University of Utah, treats pediatric brain tumors in Nevada cases. told NBC Last spring she was inundated with calls to treat the infection.
“Every call I get from the ER is a child with a brain tumor,” Bragg said.
Bragg said cases have decreased in recent months after treating two patients for brain infections earlier in the year.
Cases do not occur at high rates in Nevada and New York.
Dr. Shawn Rodgers, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, said his hospital has also seen an increase in cases since the end of 2022.
“It’s not just us. It’s hospitals across the country,” Rodgers said. “When we talk to our colleagues, everyone feels that we’ve definitely made an improvement in these types of infections.”
The most common cause of infections is bacteria, although fungi and viruses can cause pus-forming infections that spread from other parts of the body, including the eyes, ears or teeth, according to Rochester Medical Center.
People with congenital heart disease, head injuries, dental infections or chronic sinus infections are particularly at risk and symptoms can include behavioral changes, severe headaches and fever.
Meanwhile, some reports link the rise in infections to Covid-19, Including another CDC study It identified an increase of approximately 100% in the first two years of the epidemic.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan saw a 236% increase in bacterial brain infections during that time.
“We were wondering if the virus was causing some kind of inflammatory process that allowed these bacteria to invade,” Dr. Rosemary Olivero, division chief of the hospital’s division of medicine, told NBC.
Cases have returned to normal, Olivero said.