Objectives: To assess the psychosocial effects of a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) diagnosis on the households of children with MRSA skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI). Study design: We constructed and administered an interview to the primary caregiver within the home of a child with a history of MRSA SSTI. Results: Seventy-six households were enrolled. Survey responses were analyzed and grouped into 4 themes: health behavior changes, disclosure, social interactions, and knowledge/awareness. The most common theme was disclosure; 91% of participants reported sharing their child's MRSA diagnosis with someone outside of the household. Forty-two percent of respondents reported a change in the manner in which household contacts interacted as a result of the index patient's MRSA diagnosis, including isolating the index patient from other children in the household. Many households reported adopting enhanced personal hygiene behaviors and environmental cleaning routines. Thirty-eight percent of participating households reported altering how they interact with people outside of their home, largely to avoid spreading MRSA to vulnerable individuals. In addition, many participants perceived that others regarded them with caution, especially at daycare, whereas other affected households were excluded from family gatherings. Conclusion: Primary caregivers of children with MRSA SSTI reported changing their health behaviors, altering their interactions with people outside of their home, and feeling isolated by others in response to their child's MRSA diagnosis. The findings of our study highlight a need for community interventions and education to prevent the negative psychosocial repercussions associated with MRSA.
- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
- psychosocial effects
- social isolation