INFORMATION FOR THE WESTFIELD SCHOOL COMMUNITY ON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATED MRSA
What is MRSA?
Recent news reports have highlighted the recent emergence of a multi-drug resistant organism called MRSA (methicillin/oxacillin resistant staphlococcus aureus). Although it has always been a concern in the healthcare setting, it has recently emerged as a community acquired infection. It is most commonly acquired in hospitals. More recently, MRSA has been reported in increasing numbers among healthy persons of all ages in the community. It is estimated that Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are carried by 30-50% of the population, and easily passed from one person to another. However, the bacteria do not necessarily cause an infection unless there is a break in the skin from an injury, insect bite or scratch. Staph or MRSA infections in the community are usually manifested as skin infections such as pimples and boils in otherwise healthy people.
How can MRSA Infections be prevented?
MRSA is spread through close contact with an infected person; MRSA may also be spread by indirect contact, by touching objects (towels, sheets, wound dressings, clothes, workout areas and sports equipment) contaminated by the infected skin of a person with MRSA. To avoid MRSA, or staphylococcus bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone practice good hygiene:
· Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water.
· Shower or bathe thoroughly after athletic workouts and contact with other players.
· Utilize alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are unavailable.
· Launder athletic uniforms and other athletic clothing in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer.
· If you have an open wound, be sure to clean it well and keep it covered with a bandage that attaches to the skin on all sides. If you feel your child has a skin infection, please see your physician!
• Never share or borrow towels, razors, soap, or any others person items.
What Steps are the Westfield Public Schools taking?
• To ensure the health and safety of our students, the Westfield Public Schools are taking appropriate measures to disinfect all the facilities and school equipment. The Athletic Department is also advising school athletes to launder their personal athletic wear and sanitize personal athletic equipment.
• Parents have received notification of measures that are being taken in school and recommendations for home hygiene.
• The custodial staff has identified areas of higher risk and an aggressive plan for cleaning and sanitizing has been implemented.
• School nurses have been trained to identify signs and symptoms of the infection.
• Students are being instructed in proper hygiene and preventative measures in Health classes.
• Coaches and trainers have been instructed to discuss good hygiene and prevention with their teams, and to make appropriate referrals to any students with signs of a sign infection.
• Families are urged to call their family physician if they have any additional questions about MRSA; see a physician immediately upon observing any new skin lesions. If the physician suspects MRSA, please notify the school nurse as soon as possible.
For more detailed information link to www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp