Experts remain concerned about the recent increase in antibiotic-resistant infections worldwide. Now, new findings published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society reveal that these illnesses are on the rise in American children, reports Rush University Medical Center.

Acinetobacter baumannii is one of the most common hospital-acquired infections in children across the United States. The pathogen mostly affects kids with weakened immune systems and exposes children with chronic conditions to an increased risk of infections of the lung, urinary tract and other sites after surgery, intubation, trauma or catheterization.

For the study, researchers examined national and regional trends of antibiotic resistance in clinical specimens from 300 laboratories across the United States from 1999 to 2012.

Scientists found an increase in resistance to the antibiotics cephalosporin and carbapenem. Cephalosporin-resistant A. baumannii infections rose from 13.2 percent in 1999 to 23.4 percent in 2012 and carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii infections grew from 0.6 percent to 6.1 percent during the same time period.

More specifically, research showed that, overall, from 1999 to 2012, A. baumannii that was resistant to cephalosporin and carbapanem increased by 3 percent and 8 percent each year. But after the pathogens peaked in 2008, there was a downward trend in resistance.

“While we are encouraged by the slight downtrend in resistance after 2008, there is still an overall increase in these infections,” said Latania K. Logan, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor of pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center and the primary author of the study. “Further studies are needed to assess the most effective prevention strategies in children.”

Click here to learn more about how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to combat antibiotic resistance.