FRIDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of knowledge and fear
are common among parents of children with the drug-resistant staph
bacteria called MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus),
says a new study.
Health care staff need to do a better job of educating parents
while addressing their concerns and easing their fears, said the
researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children Center in Baltimore.
The study authors conducted interviews with 100 parents and
other caregivers of children hospitalized with new or established
MRSA. Some of the children were symptom-free carriers who were
hospitalized for other reasons, while others had active MRSA
The researchers found that 18 of the parents/caregivers had
never heard of MRSA.
Twenty-nine of the parents/caregivers said they didn't know
their child had MRSA. Nine of those cases involved children with
newly diagnosed MRSA, which means that 20 of the children had been
diagnosed with MRSA during past hospitalizations, yet their
parents/caregivers said they didn't know about it. They said they
were frustrated and confused about this delayed awareness.
Of the 71 parents/caregivers who knew of their child's MRSA
diagnosis, 63 (89 percent) had concerns; 55 (77 percent) worried
about subsequent MRSA infections; 36 (50 percent) worried about
their child spreading MRSA to others; and 11 (16 percent) believed
their child's MRSA diagnosis would cause them to be shunned by
friends and classmates.
Children with MRSA don't pose a serious health risk to people
outside of the hospital. Restricting their play time with other
children isn't necessary and doing so could cause psychological
damage, the researchers noted.
"What these results really tell us is not how little parents know about drug-resistant infections, but how much more we, the health care providers, should be doing to help them understand it," senior investigator Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said in a Hopkins news release.
The study findings were released online Oct. 21 in advance of
publication in an upcoming print issue of the
Journal of Pediatrics.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more