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What do people really know about MRSA? A survey of knowledge and attitudes in the general public and hospital visitors

Introduction

We set out to assess current understanding of MRSA among the lay public prior to writing an information booklet for relatives of patients in the ICU.

Methods

Trained researchers approached potential participants in the hospital entrance and public places to complete the questionnaire.

Result

Of 545 participants who completed the questionnaire, 24 had never heard of MRSA and 521 remained (176 visitors, 345 general public); 4.9% (n = 26) had previously contracted MRSA. The median age was 37 (21–49) years. The cohort first heard of MRSA 24 (± 18) months previously. The most common sources of information were television and newspapers. Participants who had MRSA thought that the shortage of beds contributed to MRSA transmission (84% vs 69%). 46.3% of the public versus 16% of the MRSA group did not expect to acquire MRSA after routine surgery (P = 0.0095). Most participants (65.3% of the public, 70% of visitors and 52% of the MRSA group) thought MRSA was serious. Ninety-two percent of the MRSA group worried about transmission to family members. 3.6% of the cohort would not know where to find more information.

Conclusion

MRSA is considered serious, information is obtained through the media, and most participants can obtain further information.

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Mclaughlin, A., Canavan, J., McAdam, E. et al. What do people really know about MRSA? A survey of knowledge and attitudes in the general public and hospital visitors. Crit Care 12, P2 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/cc6223

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Keywords

  • Public Health
  • Family Member
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Public
  • Current Understanding