Pediatric infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. The diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They're normally harmless or even helpful, but under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.
Modern medicine has developed therapeutics to successfully combat many infectious diseases: antimicrobial agents, including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-parasitic medications. In recent years, many pathogens have developed resistance to our best pharmaceutical weapons. CPCE’s infectious disease research, led by the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Stewardship (IDEAS) Research Group, is focused on establishing evidence-based guidelines for treatment and prevention of common and serious infectious diseases for the pediatric population that 1) ensure the best patient outcomes, as well as 2) prevent or slow the development of antimicrobial resistance.
Areas of Research on Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Use of Antibiotics
Antibiotic Effectiveness -- CPCE researchers delve into ways to improve standard course therapies to reduce antibiotic exposure among seriously ill or chronically ill children and slow down antimicrobial resistance among bacteria. Therapies for recurrent urinary tract infections, vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), perforated appendicitis, complicated pneumonia, sinusitis, and osteomyelitis are being studied.
Antibiotic Resistance -- The rapid emergence of antimicrobial resistance has threatened to render our antibiotic therapeutics arsenal useless and represents a major public health crisis. CPCE researchers conduct research to determine the mechanisms of various antimicrobials’ resistance and ultimately reduce and/or prevent resistance of common bacteria to antibiotic drugs.
Antibiotic Stewardship -- CPCE researchers explore the epidemiology and outcomes of antibiotic use in children, as well as the barriers to judicious use of antibiotics in the primary care setting. The goal is to develop effective countermeasures to improve antibiotics prescribing in ambulatory settings and slow the progression of antibiotic resistance.
Influenza Epidemiology -- CPCE researchers are developing a multicenter network that can be quickly deployed to perform active surveillance of hospitalized patients with influenza-like illness at the time of pandemic influenza. Applied research will describe the clinical and virologic characteristics of the pandemic, measure the burden of disease, and assess the effectiveness of a vaccine and/or antiviral medications.
Pediatric Fungal Infections -- Optimal antifungal therapy for children is currently unknown. CPCE researchers are working to develop new evidence-based treatment guidelines for invasive candidiasis in children. They are comparing the relative effectiveness of antifungal therapies for pediatric invasive candidiasis and are validating a clinical prediction model for candidemia in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Healthcare Acquired Infections -- CPCE researchers seek to measure children’s risk of acquiring infections in pediatric ambulatory sites. This line of research also identifies infection control practices that may be associated with the incidence of these infections.
Surgical Site Infections -- CPCE researchers focus on surgical site infections (SSI) after ambulatory surgery. In a phased approach, they are investigating the epidemiology of SSI after pediatric ambulatory surgery to develop novel surveillance strategies using electronic health record data elements, which will be used to create and test an EHR-based workstation to support SSI surveillance by infection preventionists.
Pediatric Sepsis -- CPCE researchers conduct research to improve early identification of sepsis in children as well as the timeliness of treatment and appropriate use of antibiotics. They are using quality improvement methods and developing effective biomarkers.
Antimicrobial-associated Acute Kidney Injury -- Antimicrobial-associated Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) research at CPCE aims to promote early detection of AKI and improve estimation of patients’ kidney function.