Aim To assess whether children with multiple disabilities attending play groups for severely disabled children at a community based Child Development Centre are colonised with Meticillin Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA).
Background Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is an organism that is usually acquired from exposure to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. It is resistant to a large number of antibiotics. MRSA bacteremia in children often has serious sequelae. Children with severe disability have chronic illnesses, receive frequent antibiotics, have invasive procedures and are more likely to be hospitalised multiple times. They are therefore assumed to be more at risk of MRSA colonisation.
Method As part of the trust infection control surveillance, the trust funded a pilot survey of MRSA colonisation among 25 children who attended the play group for severely physically disabled children at the child development centre. All children were under three years of age, wheel chair bound or with multiple disabilities. All had disabilities from birth or soon after and 80% had spent time in the neonatal unit. More than 50% of the children had had invasive procedures such as placement of a nasogastric tube or a gastrostomy or had cardiac surgery. All children had been hospitalised on more than one occasion and in more than one hospital. These factors were considered to place them at higher risk of being colonised with MRSA.
25 children were swabbed after obtaining informed consent from their parents. 2 Swabs were taken from the nostril, axilla or groyne of each of the 25 children and transported in appropriate media directly to the laboratories for testing for MRSA. The swabs were taken opportunistically by the doctor from each child when they attended clinic for their medical review.
Results All the swab results were reported negative for MRSA.
Conclusion The severely disabled children in our survey were not colonised with MRSA inspite of multiple predisposing factors. The risk of spreading MRSA within the playgroup was low and the children could continue to participate fully in communal activities.
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