Although there are no known cases of MRSA in Effingham County at this time, the goal is to practice preventive measures and keep everyone informed.
MRSA, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, is not new. The staphylococcus aureus bacteria, commonly called “staph,” are found on the skin of healthy people and can cause a minor skin infection or more serious internal infection, which may require antibiotic treatment. MRSA is a specific antibiotic resistant strain of the more common “staph.” Over the years the “staph” bacteria has become resistant to various antibiotics, causing more serious infections that are more difficult to treat.
Historically, MRSA was seen in sick persons in health care facilities. However, it has now become a cause for skin infection in healthy adults and children and is known as community acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA).
It is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, sharing contaminated personal items such as towels, linens, clothing, bar soaps, razors or contact with contaminated environmental surfaces.
Student athletes involved in contact sports are at increased risk of potential exposure. Students, parents, coaches and/or athletic trainers should assess athletes for any unusual skin lesions before every practice or event. An MRSA infection usually presents as a red, angry looking bump or sore on the skin, often thought to be a bug bite. It may progress to a pus filled center and may drain. It will require prompt medical attention.
Diligent, frequent hand washing with soap and water is the best prevention for this and all infections. In addition, not sharing personal items, practicing good personal hygiene and keeping environmental surfaces clean helps prevent exposure and spread of infection.
If you observe a suspicious sore or draining wound, cleanse and cover it, use thorough hand washing and see your health care provider.
For more information contact your health care provider or school nurse. You may wish to visit the following Web site, www.cdc.gov/mrsa.