AVON LAKE, Ohio - A student at Learwood Middle School in Avon Lake has MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. It’s a staph infection that’s resistant to several first-line antibiotics.
The school notified parents, and they’re taking extra steps to make sure they don’t have more cases. The bacteria that causes it is spread by contact with the skin. Classrooms, the gym, the cafeteria, restrooms and even school buses had an intensive, unscheduled cleaning session on Monday after one student tested positive for MRSA.
But the disinfecting operation is just the first step to prevent further outbreaks. All parents are being asked to contact the school if they think their child has an infection.
“We need you to let us know as soon as possible, for the safety of other kids, so that we cannot only do the cleaning but also let the other parents know, so they can look for the signs of infection,” said Avon Lake School District superintendent Bob Scott.
School nurses were a little busier on Tuesday, answering calls from worried parents and students. MRSA can first show up as a spot on the skin.
“It can be red, hot, tender and you can spike a fever,” said head school nurse Sara Curtan. “Usually, what you might see is something like a bug bite, but you get this welt that goes with it and it forms a boil. You can just tell there's something brewing underneath.”
Some antibiotics do work against MRSA, but the infection has to be caught early to prevent damage.
“Then you can actually avoid the potential of this bacteria getting into the bloodstream, or spreading a littler further into the tissues, and giving you a much more complicated infection,” said Dr. Blanca Gonzalez, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.
It’s normal for healthy people to carry staph bacteria on their skin. Most of the time it doesn’t cause infections, but that can happen when it enters the bloodstream through a cut. Good personal hygiene is the best way to prevent infections, like washing hands thoroughly and making sure cuts and scrapes stay clean.
School officials said the student who was diagnosed with MRSA is now taking the correct antibiotics and doing well.
For more information on MRSA, check the National Institutes of Health website:
For Learwood Middle School updates:
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