Guilderland school district officials were recently notified a high school student was diagnosed with MRSA. The student is receiving medical care and is not contagious, according to the district.
High School Principal Thomas Lutsic sent a letter to parents on Tuesday, Sept. 16, informing them of the incident.
“At this time there is no reason to believe that more than one student has been infected, however, there is the possibility that other students may have been exposed,” Lutsic said in the letter. “While MRSA is not uncommon, it is a potentially dangerous type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and may cause skin and other infections.”
The infection commonly causes boils and soft tissue infections, with symptoms including redness, areas warm to the touch, pain, drainage, discomfort and swelling. Any children experiencing these symptoms are urged to visit their family physician. School officials said reporting any suspected or diagnosed infectious condition to the school nurse, along with athletic trainer if an athlete, is important.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacteria typically carried on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. Bacteria resistant antibiotics used to treat staph infections are referred to as MRSA. The infection is treated wit ha different antibiotic after being diagnosed.
Lutsic said the district has taken additional cleaning efforts in areas where the exposure could have occurred to eliminate the potential spread of bacteria.
“The district continues to reinforce the importance of good hygiene practices with our general student population, as well as our athletes because they may be particularly susceptible,” Lutsic said in the letter. “Please encourage your children to wash their hands thoroughly with soap, which health authorities tell us is the best preventive measure for this infection.”
School officials also recommended the following measures to prevent MRSA infections:
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors, water bottles, clothing or uniforms.
- Report any suspicious skin sore or boil to the school nurse immediately.
- Anyone participating in a close contact sport (e.g. wrestling and football) should shower with soap immediately after each practice, game or match.
- Non-washable athletic gear should be cleansed with alcohol wipes after each use.
- Any cut or break in the skin should be washed with soap and water, and a clean, dry dressing applied.
For information on MRSA, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/mrsa.