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Suring school district talks about MRSA

Suring School District (WLUK/Mike Moon)
Suring School District (WLUK/Mike Moon)
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An area school district is cleaning house in the wake of a drug-resistant infection. Three Suring High School student-athletes have a bacterial infection known as MRSA.

It's a skin infection that's difficult to treat with traditional antibiotics.

Suring school leaders told FOX 11 the facilities are being cleaned top to bottom.

"Making sure our locker rooms are cleaned and just clean, clean, clean, that's the key right now for this," said Superintendent Kelly Casper, who told us last week the first case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the staph infection known as MRSA was reported.

"At this time we have three students who are on the football team," Casper told us.

Debra Konitzer with the Oconto County Health department told FOX 11 MRSA usually shows up as a minor skin infection, it can look like a pimple or spider bite. If you think you might have MRSA, you should get tested by your doctor immediately.

She said in rare cases it can become a life-threatening blood or lung infection. That's more likely in people with compromised immune systems, or patients recovering from surgery.

It's spread when someone comes in contact with the fluid from someone else's MRSA rash.

"If they have anything like a scratch, or such, they could also have an infection," Konitzer explained.

According to the CDC MRSA cannot be treated with traditional antibiotics like penicillin, but other antibiotics are used to cure it.

Konitzer said the health department is recommending everyone practice good hygiene and hand washing.

"And that there's no sharing of towels, equipment, personal items or clothing, and it's also disinfecting areas where someone had been who has MRSA," she told us.

The district said it's taking many precautions, including cleaning any equipment and uniforms the athletes may have come in contact with using a bleach solution.

Several parents in the district contacted us with concerns, saying they felt the school district was trying to cover up the MRSA outbreak.

Those parents did not respond to our requests to speak on camera.

Casper told us the district has nothing to hide.

"We sent a letter home, we have stuff up on our web page, we just got another release from Oconto County that has another letter we're going to put on our Facebook," she explained.

Konitzer said school districts are not required by law to report MRSA cases.

According to the CDC the bacteria is more common than you might think, saying one in three people has staph bacteria on his or her body and two in 100 have MRSA. Only occasionally does an infection develop.

"This isn't unusual. Many schools in the state will have this situation going on," explained Konitzer.

Casper said, although football practices have been cancelled because of MRSA, the homecoming game Friday night against Gillett will still go on. She added any infected player will need a doctor's note clearing them to play.

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School officials told FOX 11 the infected students are also attending school with doctors' permission, although they're all required to keep their MRSA rashes bandaged. None of those students have developed anything more serious than the skin infection.

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