BOSTON, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a national online survey administered by the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA), 53% of patients diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) reported that they were given no information on the condition at the time of diagnosis.
More than 80% of 312 survey respondents said they were not counseled by a health care provider on ways to avoid spreading MRSA to family members. Most respondents reported being very concerned about transmission. To fill gaps in their knowledge, respondents reported turning to the Internet and seeking advice from newspapers, friends, and family. This lack of patient knowledge could lead to the spread of MRSA among family members.
The survey data also indicate that lack of information can cause patients to feel helpless and take extreme, unnecessary actions. For example, many respondents reported isolating themselves, sending children to live with relatives, or stopping leisure activities.
"The survey raises concern about the potential for MRSA to spread within families when patients aren't armed with better information," said Dr. Anibal Sosa, APUA. "But the lack of information is also contributing to the fear we saw in the patients who were surveyed, and causing some to take unnecessary steps that can really decrease quality of life for themselves and their families."
A study by researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that MRSA infections may be twice as common as previously thought. In 2005, nearly 19,000 people died in the United States from the disease, according to the study. In the past two weeks, two deaths of school- aged children-a high school student in Virginia and a middle-school student in Brooklyn-have been linked to MRSA.
"What's important is that we arm patients with information and they understand that there are simple steps they can take to protect themselves and their families," said Dr. Sosa.
Advice to Patients
APUA offers the following suggestions to patients diagnosed with an active MRSA infection and their families:
-- Keep MRSA infections covered, and always wash your hands before and
after changing the dressing on an infection.
-- Wash your hands regularly, especially after being in public places.
Wash with soap and warm water for 20 seconds while rubbing your hands
-- Do not attempt to drain an MRSA boil by yourself.
-- Take all antibiotics given to you by your health care provider as
directed, even if the MRSA infection appears to have gone away.
-- When visiting your health care provider, voice any questions that you
Breaking the cycle of transmission
-- Do not share towels, razors, or other personal care products.
-- Change towels and sheets regularly, and wash them in hot water with
detergent and bleach before using them again.
-- Targeted disinfection of surfaces that may have come in contact with
MRSA infections or surfaces that people frequently touch is
"Everyone needs to understand that MRSA is an infection that can affect anyone, regardless of how carefully they practice good hygiene; having it does not mean you are 'dirty,'" said Dr. Sosa.
About the Survey
The survey was conducted online between August 16 and October 26, 2007. There were 312 respondents, with eligibility defined by having been formally diagnosed with an active MRSA infection. Participants were recruited on MRSA discussion boards and through Google. Limitations of this research include sample bias; only English speakers visiting MRSA-related web pages were targeted.
The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA) is a not-for-profit public health organization that has been dedicated to curbing antimicrobial resistance since 1981. APUA works to educate health professionals and consumers about the importance of proper antimicrobial usage, to improve access to effective antimicrobial treatments in developing countries, and to stimulate the development of new antimicrobial drugs. For more information, go to http://www.apua.org.
Contact: Stephanie Boyd
|SOURCE Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics|
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