MRSA hits SWCS

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Messenger photo by Andrea Cordle

Franklin Heights High School is one of the SWCS locations to have reported a recent case of MRSA.

Three cases of MRSA have been reported in the South-Western City School District.

Cases involve Westland High School, Franklin Heights High School and Monterey Elementary School. According to Sandy Nekoloff, executive director of communications for the district, each school had just one student with the infection.

“These are isolated cases,” Nekoloff said. “The students likely did not contract the infection at school.”

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a staph bacteria infection that is resistant to antibiotics. A staph infection is commonly carried on the skin or in the nose.

It is one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. According to SWCS, approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of the population is colonized (when the bacteria is present but it does not cause infection) in the nose.

According to the Franklin County Board of Health (FCBOH), most MRSA outbreaks are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils, which are often red, swollen, painful or have pus or drainage. The skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, like cuts and abrasions. Nearly all MRSA cases can be effectively treated by drainage of pus with or without antibiotics. More serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections or bone infections, are very rare in healthy people who contract MRSA.

The skin infection is normally transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have had contact with someone’s infection. For example, if you use a dirty towel that an infected person has used, you can contract the infection.

MRSA skin infections can occur anywhere. The FCBOH states that the five C’s make it easier for MRSA to be transmitted. Those include crowding (frequent skin-to-skin contact), contact, compromised skin (cuts or abrasions), contaminated items and surfaces and lack of cleanliness. The location of the five C’s are common and can include schools, dormitories, households and daycare centers.

 Those with a MRSA skin infection are advised to clean and cover the wounds in order to prevent spreading it to others. A doctor can advise the patient of the best way to keep the wounds clean. It is also recommended that you clean your hands frequently, especially after touching an infected wound, and do not share personal items such as towels, clothes and razors.

 To protect yourself from getting MRSA, the FCBOH says to practice good hygiene (wash your hands), cover skin abrasions or cuts with a bandage until healed, avoid sharing personal items and maintain a clean environment.

 Nekoloff said once the district learned of the cases, they sent parents a letter that the students were to bring home. The only parents notified were those that had students at Westland, Franklin Heights and Monterey. The FCBOH stated that it is not necessary to close schools. The schools are encouraged to disinfect surfaces and encourage good hygiene.

 Nekoloff explained that SWCS cleaned surfaces at the three schools and disinfected the buses.

 For additional information on MRSA, contact FCBOH, www.franklincountyohio.gov or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov.

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