Five MRSA cases re­ported in county schools

Par­ents urged not to panic

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jenny Thompson

The New­ton County School Sys­tem has re­ported five cases of MRSA, Me­thi­cillin- re­sis­tant Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus au­reus, within the schools.

This fall three stu­dents and two staff mem­bers were di­ag­nosed with the skin in­fec­tion. The in­fec­tions were found at Mid­dle Ridge El­e­men­tary, Palmer- Stone El­e­men­tary, Fic­quett El­e­men­tary, West New­ton El­e­men­tary and Al­covy High.

“ Each per­son has re­ceived the ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment and has been med­i­cally cleared to re­turn to school,” said Sherri Viniard, pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor for NCSS, “ and is, in fact, al­ready back at school.”

Viniard said the schools where in­fec­tions were found were thor­oughly cleansed with a prod­uct that kills MRSA bac­te­ria and cus­to­di­ans and school ad­min­is­tra­tors at­tended a train­ing ses­sion to en­sure clean­ing pro­to­cols are be­ing met and dis­in­fec­tant in­struc­tions are un­der­stood.

MRSA bac­te­ria usu­ally man­i­fests it­self on the skin in the form of pim­ples or boils. The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion re­port it is most com­monly trans­mit­ted through skin to skin con­tact.

A doc­tor should be con­tacted if a sore grows larger, has in­creas­ing amounts of drainage or is ac­com­pa­nied by fever, chills or a rash.

To pre­vent an in­fec­tion, pe­di­a­tri­cians sug­gest en­tire fam­i­lies have flu shots be­cause the virus weak­ens the im­mune sys­tem al­low­ing bac­te­ria to en­ter the body more eas­ily.

The im­por­tance of hand wash­ing should be re­in­forced to all stu­dents as well as em­pha­siz­ing not shar­ing drink­ing glasses, tis­sues, combs, clothes, linens, ra­zors and bar soap.

Par­ents also should thor­oughly clean chil­dren’s wounds and mon­i­tor them for any changes.

In re­cent weeks, MRSA in­fec­tions have bro­ken out in schools across the coun­try.

In Ge­or­gia, a sub­ur­ban At­lanta cou­ple re­ported to the As­so­ci­ated Press their 7- week- old child died in Au­gust from an an­tibi­oti­cre­sis­tant staph in­fec­tion.

Three stu­dents at Austin Road Mid­dle School in Stock­bridge, a stu­dent at Columbia High in DeKalb County and three cases in Ful­ton County were treated in Oc­to­ber. Nine other cases of in­fec­tion were pre­vi­ously re­ported in Henry County Schools this school year.

An­other mid­dle school in Wrightsville in cen­tral Ge­or­gia was cleaned af­ter two stu­dents there were di­ag­nosed.

Two stu­dents at North Cobb High School in Ken­ne­saw, two stu­dents at Os­borne High School in Ma­ri­etta and one stu­dent at South­side High School in At­lanta were also treated for MRSA in­fec­tions in Oc­to­ber.

The strain of bac­te­ria has also been found at Au­gusta State Univer­sity and in Dougherty County last month.

A 2006 “ Jour­nal of In­fec­tious Dis­eases” re­port es­ti­mated 32 per­cent of the United States pop­u­la­tion is col­o­nized with MRSA.

Ver­non Goins, pub­lic re­la­tions in­for­ma­tion co­or­di­na­tor for the East Metro Health Dis­trict, said th­ese bac­te­rial in­fec­tions are com­mon in hos­pi­tals and places where phys­i­cal con­tact is made with oth­ers such as at schools. Most in­fec­tions clear up with­out treat­ment by a physi­cian but if symp­toms per­sist, then med­i­cal at­ten­tion is needed.

He said while the MRSA strain is re­sis­tant to some staph- fight­ing med­i­ca­tions, it does re­spond to oth­ers. He added no pre­ven­ta­tive medicine ex­ists for staph in­fec­tions, only good hy­giene and aware­ness.

Viniard said let­ters have been sent home to all par­ents about proper hy­giene habits and not shar­ing per­sonal ma­te­ri­als.

“ We sent in­for­ma­tional let­ters home to par­ents be­cause knowl­edge is the best pre­ven­tion,” Viniard said. “ We need par­ents to help us re­in­force what we are teach­ing the chil­dren at school about pre­vent­ing the spread of germs and in­fec­tions, whether it be MRSA, the flu or sim­ply the com­mon cold.”

(Across from Wal-Mart)

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