To describe trends in the incidence of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in children during 2005–2010.


We evaluated reports of invasive MRSA infections in pediatric patients identified from population-based surveillance during 2005–2010. Cases were defined as isolation of MRSA from a normally sterile site and classified on the basis of the setting of the positive culture and presence or absence of health care exposures. Estimated annual changes in incidence were determined by using regression models. National age- and race-specific incidences for 2010 were estimated by using US census data.


A total of 876 pediatric cases were reported; 340 (39%) were among infants. Overall, 35% of cases were hospital-onset, 23% were health care–associated community-onset, and 42% were community-associated (CA). The incidence of invasive CA-MRSA infection per 100 000 children increased from 1.1 in 2005 to 1.7 in 2010 (modeled yearly increase: 10.2%; 95% confidence interval: 2.7%–18.2%). No significant trends were observed for health care–associated community-onset and hospital-onset cases. Nationally, estimated invasive MRSA incidence in 2010 was higher among infants aged <90 days compared with older infants and children (43.9 vs 2.0 per 100 000) and among black children compared with other races (6.7 vs 1.6 per 100 000).


Invasive MRSA infection in children disproportionately affects young infants and black children. In contrast to reports of declining incidence among adults, there were no significant reductions in health care–associated MRSA infections in children. Concurrently, the incidence of CA-MRSA infections has increased, underscoring the need for defining optimal strategies to prevent MRSA infections among children with and without health care exposures.

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