Health department, school monitor MRSA

Springfield schools ‘completely cooperative,’ health official says.

The Ohio Department of Health and the Clark County Combined Health District are working with Springfield school officials to address recent cases of the staph infection MRSA at Lincoln Elementary School.

“An outbreak is just two or more related cases, and so as far as we know at this time, we’re looking at two confirmed cases and one suspected case,” said Tess Pollack, ODH spokeswoman.

There have been three cases of MRSA in the last two months, said Superintendent Dave Estrop, and the school nurse was aware of each.

“She worked with the physicians who were addressing the issue, and she also was in communication with the health district,” said Estrop. “We’re following their lead at this point, implementing the protocol that they recommend and also going a little beyond that to do some additional custodial work in certain areas of the school.”

MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a type of staph infection that has developed a resistance to commonly-used antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.

The county health district will continue working with the school, which began following Center for Disease Control protocol for schools when they learned of the cases, said Christina Conover, director of nursing at the county health department.

“There still seems to be a fair amount of anxiety,” she said. “From our point of view, the school’s been completely cooperative.”

The CDC says that that unless directed by a physician, students with MRSA infections should not be excluded from school and that general good hygiene practices will go a long way toward protecting students and faculty. The CDC also says it usually is not necessary to inform the entire school community about one case of a MRSA infection.

“It really goes back to personal hygiene all the time, hand washing and keeping wounds covered all the time, whether its identified as MRSA or not,” said Conover.

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