Public knowledge and perceptions of MRSA: results of the Tayside Survey

Abstract number: P1456

Easton P., Williams F., Stringer K., Defres S., Marwick C.A., Davey P.G., Nathwani D.

Objective: To establish levels of knowledge and concern about MRSA in the general public in Tayside, Scotland.

Methods: This opportunistic anonymous questionnaire survey was carried out in 15 general practice surgery waiting areas and two other establishments. Data collected included respondent demographics, whether and where respondents had heard of MRSA, knowledge of possible modes of transmission, treatment possibilities, level of personal concern, and the perceived accuracy of media information.

Results: Questionnaires were completed by 1000 adults (>16 years old). 59% of respondents were female. 802 (80%) were white Scottish with 4% from non-UK ethnic groups. The age range and ethnic distribution of respondents were representative of the Tayside population.

856 (86%) of those surveyed had heard of MRSA, 66% via the media. 591 (59%) knew it is a bacterium rather than a virus. The possibility of healthy carriage was known about by 467 (47%) of respondents, and 32% knew someone who had had MRSA.

Respondents blamed lack of staff hand washing (73%) and lack of hospital cleanliness (68%) for MRSA infection in hospitals. 50% thought a patient with MRSA infection could have been infected by an asymptomatic visitor, while 36% knew that infection could come from patients' own carriage. 47% of respondents knew that antibiotics could be used to treat MRSA.

32% of those surveyed were ``a little worried'' that if admitted to hospital they might get MRSA, 20% were ``very worried'' and 0.7% were ``not at all worried''. Only 59% of respondents stated their perceived level of risk of getting MRSA infection if admitted to hospital. Answers ranged from <1% (n = 37) to 75+% (n = 33) with most people selecting between 10% and 50%.

Respondents doubted the accuracy of information about MRSA in newspapers with 27% thinking it is inaccurate and 36% ``not sure''. 55% wanted more information about MRSA citing GP waiting areas as suitable locations.

Conclusions: This large survey has given new insight into the knowledge and perception of MRSA among the general public. This knowledge is reasonably good in some areas but lacking in others. The general public are sceptical of media reporting and want more information about MRSA.

Session Details

Date: 19/04/2008
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: 18th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Presentation type:
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