What it is, how it's spread, and what you can do to stop it
MRSA — methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus — is an infection that can occur in schools across the country.
When caught early, MRSA is fully treatable. It's important for students and the community to know what this infection is and how we can all help to stop it from developing and spreading.
MRSA is a bacterial infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. Anyone can get it, though it's most common among recently hospitalized patients. It's spread by direct contact with the hands of an infected person.
Symptoms of MRSA are broad, depending on the part of the body infected. They can occur at the site of a wound, on the skin, in the blood, as well as in or around the eyes. Redness, tenderness or swelling at the site of infection are most common. However, it is possible to carry MRSA without symptoms.
MRSA is most commonly diagnosed by having a doctor take a sample from the infected site and testing it in a laboratory.
Though MRSA is resistant to most antibiotics, there is one antibiotic, vancomysin, that can treat the infection. However, it appears some strains of MRSA are developing resistance to vancomysin. According to the New York State Department of Health, new antibiotics are being developed to address this.
Good hygiene is the key to preventing the spread of MRSA. Make sure to follow these best practices:
•Wash hands thoroughly
•Don't share personal items such as razors, towels or hygiene products
•Cover open wounds with a dressing or bandage
•Assess skin regularly for any abnormalities, such as tender bumps or lesions
If you or someone you know is an athlete, they should:
•avoid sharing equipment
•wipe down competition mats
•always shower and wash their uniforms after practices and athletic events
Practice these good hygiene tips, and even those who have MRSA will not be able to spread the disease.
While there have been no cases reported at BKW, the district is remaining vigilant. All faculty and staff have been notified with information regarding the symptoms and prevention of MRSA. In addition, the school's athletic staff continues to keep the gym, locker rooms and all athletic equipment as clean as possible, and reminds student athletes to follow simple guidelines for preventing the infection.