AVON LAKE — School officials are reassuring parents that a case of MRSA reported for a middle school student is no cause for alarm.
“We got a letter right out to parents informing them of the situation and the steps we’ve taken, and we haven’t heard of anybody else who appears to have contracted anything,” Superintendent Bob Scott said Tuesday.
The confirmed case of MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, involves a male student who attends Learwood Middle School.
The boy’s age was not immediately known, but he is believed to be either a seventh- or eighth-grader, according to Scott.
The boy’s illness was reported to school officials Monday.
“This is huge for us,” Scott said. “We’ve been working very hard over the last few years since the first MRSA scare came about, and people were really afraid to come forward.”
The student has begun a course of treatment with antibiotics and is expected to return to classes within a few days.
“It can be treated fairly quickly once it is identified,” Scott said.
While MRSA can be resistant to many antibiotics, the faster it is diagnosed after the onset of symptoms, the quicker the odds of it being successfully treated.
“The family got to a doctor in timely fashion so it could be cared for more easily,” Scott said.
While special cleaning measures are not mandated after a MRSA case is reported, the school district performed extra anti-bacterial cleanings and disinfecting in the school’s gyms, cafeteria, restrooms, classrooms and buses.
“We cleaned every place and surface that could have been touched by children,” Scott said.
Common signs of the skin infections that MRSA often produces include redness, swelling, tenderness and warmth to the touch. A MRSA infection often will resemble a spider bite, boil, abscess or pimple. Untreated cases can lead to more serious illnesses.
Avon Lake, like other school systems, has worked to better educate families about the infection “to make sure they watch their kids for signs and to get them to the doctor quickly should the need arise,” Scott said.
When MRSA cases were suspected or confirmed years ago, parents wrongly felt that a child contracting the infection meant they had unclean children who were wearing dirty clothing or who came from a dirty home, Scott said.
“It took a lot of time to really build parents’ trust,” Scott said. “Today people much better understand that staph infections are everywhere. It’s part of our world and they need to know early to take care of it.”
Letters that went to parents and guardians of schoolchildren suggested hand-washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, regular showering or bathing, covering any skin abrasion or cut with a clean, dry bandage, not sharing personal items such as towels or razors, and wiping off razors or other items before and after using them.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.