Staph and MRSA
In light of recent events and publicity regarding bacterial infections, Forsyth County Schools is providing students, staff and parents with necessary information regarding ordinary staph (Staphylococcus aureus) infections and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). These infections occur sporadically in our school population, just as they do in all populations. At this time, we have not had any reported outbreaks of staph infection at Otwell Middle School.
What is staph?
Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) in the nose with staph bacteria. Sometimes, staph can cause an infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States. Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials). However, staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).
What is MRSA?
Some staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to antibiotics called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25% to 30% of the population is colonized with staph, approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.
What does a staph or MRSA infection look like?
Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.
The school system is ensuring that school facilities are cleaned appropriately. Parents and students can help by encouraging and practicing proper hygiene, especially:
- Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
For more information, please contact your healthcare provider.
Please inform your student’s teacher and school nurse if a MRSA infection should happen to occur.
Information provided by www.cdc.gov, 2007.
Preventive information provided by Forsyth County Schools, 2007
Last Modified on November 7, 2007