Bryan County School Superintendent Sallie Brewer said Thursday one case of the MRSA staph infection has been reported in the county.
"We did have one minor case of MRSA that was confirmed late Tuesday. It was at Richmond Hill High School and the child was seen by a physician and has already completed treatment,” she said.
Brewer said because the case was a minor, single incident, it was not a reportable disease. She said the health department was still notified.
“We did report it to the Health Department - but this disease is only considered 'reportable' if there is a cluster of infections; one case is not reportable,” she explained. “But reportable or not, if we ever have an incident, we get in touch with the Health Department any time there is a health concern in our school or community. We always want to make sure we understand everything.”
Information provided by the Coastal Health District’s said the same thing.
“Only severe cases or clusters of infections are reported to us,” said a fact sheet provided by Ginger Heidel, director of public relations for the Coastal Health District. “Therefore, we cannot say how many actual cases there are in our community. The important message is that we know MRSA exists, it’s here to stay, and there are precautions we should all take to avoid infection and serious consequences of infection.”
Minor MRSA staph infections, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, are common throughout the community, and are generally not reported to the Health Department. The majority of staph infections are treatable with antibiotics and good hygiene practices are the best defense against possibly getting the infection, the Coastal Health District said.
Brewer said the district has followed the protocol and taken all the necessary precautions.
“Our nurse sent out a one-page, simple ‘here’s what it is and here’s what you do’ fact sheet. We already seriously disinfect all the schools because of the number of people that are coming through on a daily basis,” she said. “Our custodians do an excellent job, but they did get a reminder to take extra precautions and have been cleaning the schools more often throughout the day. There are a variety of cleaning agents, but the bleach solution they use is really as good as it gets."
Brewer said there’s no reason for parents to be alarmed.
“I certainly do not want to cause any alarm where there is none to be had,” she said.
From the Department of Health and Human Services at the Center for Disease Control:
MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to antibiotics, called beta-lactams, which include methicillin and common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25 to 30 percent of the population is colonized with staph, approximately one percent is colonized with MRSA.How can I prevent staph or MRSA skin infections?
Practice good hygiene:
- Keep your hands clean by washing with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers;
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed;
- Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages; and
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or uniforms. Keep sheets, towels, and clothes clean and dry them in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, which helps kill bacteria.
Yes. Most staph and MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. Do not share antibiotics with other people or save unfinished antibiotics to use at another time. Many staph skin infections may simply be treated by draining the abscess or boil and may not require antibiotics – but drainage of skin boils or abscesses should only be done by a healthcare provider. If, after visiting your healthcare provider, the infection does not get better after a few days, contact them again.
Yes. It is possible to have a staph or MRSA skin infection recur after it is cured. To prevent this from happening, follow your healthcare provider’s directions while you have the infection, and follow the prevention steps after the infection is gone.