MRSA case prompts fast action

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

AULANDER – Just hearing of a case of MRSA usually sends people into a panic, but despite one confirmed case here, school officials say there is nothing to be concerned about.

A student at Aulander Elementary School was reported to have a confirmed case of the staph infection commonly known as MRSA this week, but Bertie County Schools Public Information Officer Brent Todd says that the student has been treated.

&uot;It was very localized, not something that was spread over a wide area… it was in an area where it would have been difficult to spread it, on the leg under long pants,&uot; Todd explained.

He continued, &uot;We don’t feel like it was any problem at all for other students… the student has been treated and is expected to return to school soon.&uot;

Bertie Schools Superintendent Dr. Chip Zullinger told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that Todd personally informed every parent in the school system of the confirmed case.

&uot;Brent did an excellent job contacting all the parents and letting them know what was going on… furthermore the school has been completely cleaned as a result of the report and we had extra custodial help that went out there yesterday and fully sanitized the place,&uot; Zullinger stated.

Shirley Jones of Albemarle Regional Health Services, which heads up the Bertie County Health Department, stated that there have been no other confirmed cases in Bertie County.

MRSA is a strain of staph infection that’s resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it.

When untreated, it can be responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and a serious form of pneumonia.

MRSA can also be fatal.

According to the Mayo Clinic, &uot;Staph skin infections, including MRSA, generally start as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also penetrate into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.&uot;

Steps can be taken to prevent or reduce the chances of contracting MRSA by properly washing hands frequently and sanitizing personal items.

Anyone showing signs of MRSA should seek medical treatment immediately and children with symptoms should not be sent to school.

Additionally, all confirmed cases in students should be reported to the proper school authorities.