Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
There have been many stories lately about students across the city, state and country contracting Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). At Fort Wayne Community Schools we take great care to make sure our students attend school in a safe and healthy environment. When we have health issues we work closely with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health, as well as the Indiana Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when necessary. The following information is from the CDC regarding MRSA.
What is MRSA?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).
Almost all MRSA skin infections can be effectively treated by drainage of pus with or without antibiotics. More serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or bone infections, are very rare in healthy people who get MRSA skin infections.
How is MRSA transmitted?
MRSA is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infection (e.g., towels, used bandages).
How can I protect myself and my child from getting MRSA?
By practicing good hygiene; covering skin abrasions or cuts with a clean dry bandage until healed; avoiding sharing personal items (e.g., towels, razors) that come into contact with your bare skin; using a barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment such as weight-training benches; and maintaining a clean environment by establishing cleaning procedures for frequently touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people's skin.
Should schools close because of an MRSA infection?
The decision to close a school for any communicable disease should be made by school officials in consultation with local and/or state public health officials. However, in most cases, it is not necessary to close schools because of a MRSA infection in a student. It is important to note that MRSA transmission can be prevented by simple measures such as hand hygiene and covering infections.
Should the school be closed to be cleaned or disinfected when an MRSA infection occurs?
Covering infections will greatly reduce the risks of surfaces becoming contaminated with MRSA. In general it is not necessary to close schools to "disinfect" them when MRSA infections occur. MRSA skin infections are transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact and contact with surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infection.
Should the entire school community be notified of every MRSA infection?
Usually, it should not be necessary to inform the entire school community about a single MRSA infection. When an MRSA infection occurs within the school population, the school nurse and school physician should determine, based on their medical judgment, whether some or all students, parents and staff should be notified. Consultation with the local public health authorities should be used to guide this decision.
Should the school be notified that my child has an MRSA infection?
Should students with MRSA skin infections be excluded from attending school?
Unless directed by a physician, students with MRSA infections should not be excluded from attending school. Exclusion from school and sports activities should be reserved for those with wound drainage ("pus") that cannot be covered and contained with a clean, dry bandage and for those who cannot maintain good personal hygiene.