Introduction: More than 33 000 healthcare-associated infections occur in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) each year in the USA. Parents, rather than healthcare workers, may be a reservoir from which neonates acquire Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonisation in the NICU. This study looks to measure the effect of treating parents with short course intranasal mupirocin and topical chlorhexidine antisepsis on acquisition of S. aureus colonisation and infection in neonates. Methods and analysis: The TREAT PARENTS trial (Treating Parents to Reduce Neonatal Transmission of S. aureus) is a multicentre randomised, masked, placebo-controlled trial. Shortly after a neonate is admitted to the NICU, parents will be tested for S. aureus colonisation. If either parent screens positive for S. aureus, then both parents as a pair will be enrolled and randomised to one of the two possible masked treatment arms. Arm 1 will include assignment to intranasal 2% mupirocin plus topical antisepsis with chlorhexidine gluconate impregnated cloths for 5 days. Arm 2 will include assignment to placebo ointment and placebo cloths for skin antisepsis for 5 days. The primary outcome will be neonatal acquisition of an S. aureus strain that is concordant to the parental baseline S. aureus strain as determined by periodic surveillance cultures or a culture collected during routine clinical care that grows S. aureus. Secondary outcomes will include neonatal acquisition of S. aureus, neonatal S. aureus infection, eradication of S. aureus colonisation in parents, natural history of S. aureus colonisation in parents receiving placebo, adverse reactions to treatment, feasibility of intervention, and attitudes and behaviour in consented parents. Four hundred neonate-parent pairs will be enrolled.
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