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Knowledge gaps, fears common among parents of children with drug-resistant bacteria
Date:10/25/2010

ians were unaware. Investigators said the caregivers expressed frustration and confusion with the delayed revelation, a finding showing the importance of promptly communicating any and all new information to parents and doing so in plain language.

Among the 71 caregivers who knew of their child's MRSA diagnosis, 63(89 percent) revealed concerns, 55 (77 percent) worried about subsequent MRSA infections, and more than half (36) worried about their child spreading MRSA to others. Widespread uncertainty existed among them about whether to share the news with the child's school, primary-care pediatrician or home nurse. Some parents said they didn't understand the difference between having an active infection and being a carrier.

Eleven of the 71 (16 percent) caregivers said their child's MRSA diagnosis would lead to social stigma, fearing isolation both by friends and at school.

To help address these fears, physicians and nurses caring for children with MRSA should ask parents repeatedly if they have lingering concerns or questions, the researchers note. And they should take extra care to relieve worries among parents about future infections in the child or the fear of their child spreading MRSA to others. This can be done by putting the risks in perspective and by giving clear, specific risk-minimizing instructions tailored to each child's situation and health status, the researchers say.

Because children with MRSA do not pose a serious risk to healthy people outside of the hospital, restricting play time with friends and schoolmates is unjustified and doing so can be psychologically damaging to a child, the researchers say.

"An old axiom in pediatric medicine says that when you treat a child, you treat the whole family, so it is up to the physicians to ensure that the family understands what MRSA is and, more importantly, what it is not," Milstone noted.

"As physicians, we often focus too much on accurate diagnos
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Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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