HealthDay News — Treating colonized parents may reduce the risk for Staphylococcus aureus transmission to neonates in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), according to a study published online Dec. 30 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Aaron M. Milstone, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues randomly assigned S aureus-colonized parents of 236 neonates in the NICU to either intranasal mupirocin and 2 percent chlorhexidine-impregnated cloths (active treatment; 117 infants) or petrolatum intranasal ointment and nonmedicated soap cloths (placebo; 119 infants) for five days. Concordant S aureus colonization was assessed at 90 days.

The researchers found that 38.9 percent of the neonates acquired S aureus colonization by 90 days, and 56.8 percent of these neonates had a strain concordant with a parental baseline strain (14.6 percent in the active treatment group and 28.7 percent in the placebo group; hazard ratio, 0.43). In the intervention group, 31.4 percent of neonates acquired any S aureus strain versus 45.5 percent in the control group (hazard ratio, 0.57). One neonate in the intervention group and one neonate in the control group developed an S aureus infection before colonization. In parents, skin reactions were common (4.8 percent intervention versus 6.2 percent placebo).

“These findings provide early evidence that treating S aureus-colonized parents may provide a novel intervention to reduce the risk of S aureus transmission to neonates in the NICU, a period of high risk of invasive S aureus disease,” the authors write.

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