Recently, a 17-year-old in Bedford County, Virginia died of an infection known as MRSA . MRSA stands for “methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus” and is also referred to as a “staph infection” or a “superbug.” MRSA is a particular kind of staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotics. The MRSA bacteria was found in many other schools in Virginia as well as over the country, and Bedford County schools were closed down as a result.
These developments are unusual and surprising because MRSA generally turns up in hospitals, rather than in schools or other places in the community.
Things to know about MRSA:
1)It is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Alternately, it can be spread through surfaces or objects that many people have touched or through personal items such as towels.
2)MRSA is easy to prevent but can be difficult to cure. Basic hygiene is the number one factor in preventing this infection. Hand-washing is especially important. Other factors include keeping personal items clean, using disinfectants and being careful about use of antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics is what prompts bacteria to evolve into resistant strains.
3)As most MRSA cases occur in hospitals, it is important to be especially vigilant about the hygiene about those around you if you or a loved one is admitted to the hospital. Do not be shy about asking if doctors, nurses, or other caretakers have washed their hands. Lack of such basic measures has led to deaths in the past, as can be seen by examining the case of Maureen Daly and others.
Another useful resource are these FAQs about schools, kids and MRSA.