London, April 28 : At least 10 British children are fighting for their lives after being infected by a "playground" superbug, which is capable of killing youngsters within 48 hours.
Health experts have warned that the bug Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a member of the Staphylococcus aureas family of infections, is on the rise in playgrounds.
Official figures suggest that PVL infections have more than doubled since 2005.
Doctors say that children are especially susceptible to PVL infections, which they may get while playing in their school playgrounds or in local parks.
According to them, PVL possesses the ability to combine with the hospital superbug MRSA.
They say that soon after a person contracts PVL, the infection starts killing off white blood cells, and thereby adversely affect the body's immune system.
Medical experts have also revealed that the bug can escape into a patient's skeleton, where it becomes particularly hard to cure.
In such cases, doctors are left with the only option of treating the disease by removing infected bones.
There are some doctors who believe that the Government is not taking the threat of PVL infections seriously enough.
"This infection can kill healthy children in one to two days, but the authorities are continuing to treat MRSA as purely a hospital problem and trying to assuage public opinion," the Telegraph quoted Mark Enright, professor of molecular epidemiology at Imperial College London, as saying.
Professor Richard Wise, a leading microbiologist, said that a minister had been warned about three years ago that the bug posed a huge threat.
"This needs to be sorted. Get it sorted," Prof Wise said the minister told civil servants.
A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said: "The risk to the general public of becoming infected with PVL-S. aureas is small and the majority of the strains identified in the UK are treatable with many antibiotics, but it is always good practice to maintain appropriate hygiene measures, which include proper cleansing and disinfection of cuts and minor wounds."