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December 9, 2005

Other, Other Illnesses

Question from Clearwater, Florida, USA:

My 16 month old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the end of September. My question concerns a recurring MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection issue with two of my young nephews, ages two and three and a half. The two year old has been hospitalized at least three times for MRSA and his brother has been in the PICU at least that many times. I don't really know a lot about MRSA, other than it is an antibiotic resistant staph infection. I know it is difficult to control and am scared to death about exposing my son to it. As I understand, MRSA can only be passed when there is an ongoing infection and passed in to the bloodstream through open cuts. Our little guy gets at least six "open cuts" in the form of finger pricks every day. Although I don't know much about MRSA, I can't help but question my sister's ability to manage this problem, especially considering how frequently her children have been in intensive care. I'm obviously torn, cause I don't want to prevent my son from playing with his young cousins. But, I don't want to subject him to further complications especially considering his young age. Fortunately, this is only an issue during the holidays since we live several hours away. Could you please give me and my husband more info regarding MRSA and how it can affect young diabetics? Most important, could you please advise how we can prevent exposure to MRSA and still allow our son to play with his cousins during the holidays and occasional gatherings?

Answer:

There has to be fairly close contact to get such infections. However, you may want to discuss this with your own diabetes team and, perhaps, also get permission from your relative to discuss this with their infectious disease specialist as well.

SB