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MRSA Virus Found at Knightstown Intermediate School
January 23, 2008 - A notice sent home with students last Friday advised parents that a single case of MRSA - an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection - had been found at Knightstown Intermediate School.
In an effort to learn more about discovery of the incident and measures taken to address the problem, The Banner tried contacting both KIS Principal Don Scheumann and Jena Schmidt, public access officer for the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation, on Tuesday. Neither Scheumann nor Schmidt, however, returned messages left for them prior to the news deadline for this week's issue.
According to the Indiana Department of Health website, MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) bacteria that has developed resistance to methicillin and other antibiotics related to penicillin. Commonly found on the skin in the armpit, groin and genital areas, and in the noses of many people, this type of bacteria can cause small infections, like pimples and boils, when they enter the body through a break in the skin.
The DOH website says MRSA is spread by close contact with an infected person, either by direct skin contact, or through indirect contact with shared objects or surfaces, such as shared towels, razors, soap, wound bandages, bedding, clothes, hot tub or sauna benches, and athletic equipment. Wound drainage or pus, according to the DOH, is very infectious, and Staph bacteria like MRSA can cause serious bloodstream and surgical wound infections, as well as pneumonia.
Symptoms of MRSA infection, the DOH says, may include red, swollen, warm and painful pimples, boils or blistered areas; pus or other drainage; fever and chills; or wounds that look like a spider bites. The DOH says the following are at high risk for contracting MRSA:
- People with skin infections or open skin areas (e.g., abrasions or cuts);
- People who have contact with someone who is infected with MRSA;
- Those with weakened immune system due to illness or kidney dialysis;
- IV drug users;
- Persons who've recently used antibiotics;
- Those living in crowded conditions;
- Close-contact sports participants;
- Men who've had sex with other men;
- People who've been patients in a health care facility within the past year; and
- Those with poor personal hygiene.
The DOH recommends the following measures to prevent the spread of MRSA:
- Proper and frequent hand washing;
- Covering of infected areas with a clean, dry bandage;
- Avoiding direct contact with another person's wounds, drainage or bandages;
- Avoiding contact with surfaces contaminated with wound drainage;
- Not sharing personal hygiene items, such as washcloths, towels, razors, toothbrushes, soap, nail clippers, clothing or uniforms; and
- Cleaning shared athletic equipment and surfaces before use.
If a MRSA or other Staph infection is contracted, the DOH recommends seeing a health care provider as soon as possible to prevent the infection from becoming worse. If an antibiotic is prescribed, the DOH says it should be taken as directed.
For more information, visit the DOH website at www.in.gov/isdh/healthinfo/QuickFact_PDFs/mrsa.pdf.
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