Staph Infection Transmission

If your child has had a staph infection, doctors now say, there is a strong chance that other family members may contract the antibiotic resistant infection.

A new study reveals that people in the homes of children with skin and soft-tissue infections caused by the staph bacteria have a higher rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization than the general population.

MRSA is a serious public-health issue.{} It is a contagious, antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria that causes difficult-to-treat infections in humans.

The study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis included 183 children with S. aureus skin and tissue infections and colonization in the nose, armpit and/or groin area, and more than 600 of their household contacts, defined as people who spent more than half their time each week in the child's home.

They found more than half of the household contacts were colonized with staph, and 21 percent were colonized with MRSA, compared with an MRSA colonization rate of 0.8 percent to 1.5 percent in the general population.

The study appears in the latest journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.