BALTMORE, Md., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Parents and caregivers of children with a drug-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus say they need better information, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Aaron Milstone of the Johns Hopkins Children Center in Baltimore says the findings underscore the need for healthcare staff to do a better job in educating parents of children with MRSA.
The researchers conducted bedside interviews with 100 parents and others caring for children hospitalized with new or established MRSA. Some of the children were symptom-free carriers hospitalized for other reasons, while others had active MRSA infections.
Nearly one-fifth of those surveyed had never heard of MRSA. This common antibiotic-resistant bacterium causes skin and soft-tissue infections in healthy people, but can lead to invasive, sometimes fatal, infections in seriously sick patients and in those with weak immune systems, Milstone says.
In the study, 29 of the 100 caregivers said they didn't know that their child had MRSA, but only nine of these cases involved newly identified cases, meaning that 20 children had been diagnosed with MRSA during past hospitalizations, yet parents and guardians were unaware.
"What these results really tell us is not how little parents know about drug-resistant infections, but how much more we, the healthcare providers, should be doing to help them understand it," Milstone, a senior investigator, says in a statement.
The findings are published online in The Journal of Pediatrics.