View information about possible MRSA exposure

It has come to our attention that some of our athletes may have been exposed to MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) through contact with athletes from another school district.

Recently, members of the varsity wrestling team competed against a neighboring school district. This morning, Athletic Director Matthew O’Brien was notified that one of the opposing team’s athletes has tested positive for MRSA. Although this individual did not compete against any wrestlers on the Goshen team, he did have contact with his own teammates who may have exposed our athletes to MRSA.

When the infection is contracted in community settings such as schools, it is most likely through direct skin-to-skin contact and sharing personal items such as towels. Good personal hygiene is the most effective way to prevent an infection, and consists of hand washing, proper care of skin injuries and infections, and avoiding sharing personal items.

The infection commonly causes boils and soft tissue infection. The symptoms include redness, areas warm to the touch, pain, drainage, discomfort and swelling. If your child is displaying these symptoms, please contact your family physician as well as the school nurse’s office. As always, health information is kept strictly confidential.

Our students’ well-being is always the highest of priorities. Information about MRSA in athletic settings, including guidelines for prevention, has been shared with our physical education and coaching staff. We will continue to encourage good hygiene practices, such as regular and thorough hand washing, among our entire student population.

If you have any questions, please contact School Nurse Nancy Moore-Ellefsen at 615-6314 or Athletic Director Matthew O’Brien at 615-6162.

Commonly asked questions about MRSA

What is MRSA?

MRSA refers to a type of bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) that is resistant to many antibiotics. It is a common cause of hospital-acquired infections.

Who gets MRSA?

Anyone can get MRSA, but it is found most often in hospitalized patients.

What are the symptoms associated with MRSA infection?

MRSA infections can cause a broad range of symptoms depending on the part of the body that is infected. These may include surgical wounds, burns, catheter sites, eye, skin and blood. Infection often results in redness, swelling and tenderness at the site of infection. Sometimes, people may carry MRSA without having any symptoms.

How is it transmitted?

The staph bacteriais generally spread through direct contact with the hands of a health care worker or patient who is infected or carrying the organism.

How long can an infected person carry MRSA?

Some people can carry MRSA for days to many months, even after their infection has been treated.

How are MRSA infections diagnosed?

MRSA infections can be diagnosed when a doctor obtains a sample or specimen from the site of infection and submits it to a laboratory. The laboratory places the specimen on a special “culture” plate containing nutrients, incubates the plate in a warmer and then identifies the bacteria. The final step is for the laboratory to conduct tests using various antibiotics to determine if the bacteria are resistant (able to withstand or tolerate) or sensitive (susceptible to killing) to select antibiotics.

What is the treatment for MRSA?

Although MRSA cannot be effectively treated with antibiotics such as methicillin, nafcillin, cephalosporin or penicillin, it can usually be treated with an antibiotic called vancomycin. Recently, however, a few strains of Staphylococcus aureus have even developed some degree of resistance to vancomycin. The vancomycin-resistant strains may be more difficult to treat. Newer antibiotics are being developed to address this problem.

How can the spread of MRSA be controlled?

Careful hand washing is the single most effective way to control spread of MRSA. Health care workers should wash their hands after contact with each patient. If the patient is known to have an MRSA infection, the health care worker should wear disposable gloves. Depending on the type of contact, a gown should also be worn. Patients must also wash their hands to avoid spreading the bacteria to others.

What about contact with carriers?

If basic hygiene precautions are followed, MRSA carriers are not a hazard to others including their family and friends.

Source: New York State Department of Health