2009-09-24 / Front Page

MRSA Bacteria Confirmed At SFSD

"Several" students diagnosed with form of staph bacteria
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a form or type of "staph" bacteria that can be acquired in either a hospital or community-based setting has been confirmed as being present in the student body of Southern Fulton School District.

Southern Fulton Superintendent Ralph Scott informed the "News" that several positive cases of MRSA were confirmed last week. While a specific number of students affected by the bacteria was not revealed, Scott did state those students are currently under the care of a physician.

MRSA can be acquired in a healthcare setting, most times by an individual who is already sick or possesses a weakened immune system. MRSA can also occur among people who have cuts or wounds and come in close contact with others, such as members of sports teams, reports indicate. Community based situations such as these typically result in skin infections such as boils, abscesses or cellulitis.

MRSA does not respond well to many types of antibiotics and is more likely to develop when antibiotics are used too frequently or not utilized properly, health documents show.

Following the confirmation by the school last week, district solicitor and officials with the Department of Health were contacted to decide what course of action should be followed. Staff and maintenance employees have been alerted to the matter, said Scott, and a mailer was being prepared Monday by school nurse Sandy Crouse for distribution to parents.

Just like various other "communicable diseases," the top administrator stated school staff is taking appropriate action such as additional cleanings above normal procedure with only the highest-grade or strength disinfectants utilized. Staff had previously received training on proper protocol in these situations that require extra-special care, he added.

"We're letting people know what we can, when we can," Scott concluded.

Steps suggested to protect yourself from MRSA include:

• practicing good hygiene,

• frequent handwashing with soap and warm water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer,

• keep cuts and scrapes clean and bandaged,

• refrain from sharing personal items like towels and razors,

• only take antibiotic medicine prescribed by a doctor and in the recommended dosage amount and

• keep frequently touched surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs clean with disinfectant.

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