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Greencastle, Pa., student diagnosed with MRSA infection

October 20, 2007|By DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. ? A student in the Greencastle-Antrim School District has been diagnosed with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial infection, according to district officials.

"He's not hospitalized. The student is doing fine," Acting Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said. "No one's in danager. That's what the experts have told us, and we wouldn't say that unless we had verification."

On Monday, a 17-year-old high school student in Bedford County, Va., who was infected with a form of MRSA died, according to the Associated Press.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District learned Friday morning that a student had been diagnosed with the MRSA infection, and officials consulted with school doctors, the patient's doctor and Pennsylvania Department of Health officials, a press release from the district stated. District parents were notified by a memo that was sent home, and a notice is posted on the district's Web site.

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Hoover would not say what school the student attends, but that the district's primary, elementary, middle and high schools will be throughly cleaned over the weekend.

"Primarily, we're going to focus on the building we know the student was in," Hoover said.

The cleanser the district routinely uses is effective in killing the MRSA bacteria, he said.

"Local doctors have seen an increase in MRSA in the last three years in our area, and it is more common than we know," the memo stated. "It can be treated with antibiotics. It is important, as in most infections, that it is diagnosed early and that you see your family physician promptly."

One of the symptoms, according to the memo, is a lesion that might bear some resemblance to acne but is found in areas not usually associated with acne.

Any unsual lesion should not be disturbed, according to the memo. Frequent hand-washing is one way to prevent the spread of the infection to others, the memo stated.

MRSA is resistant to some penicillin-related forms of antibiotics, according to a state Department of Health Web site. Forms include hospital- and community-acquired MRSA. The latter usually is more common among young people and involves less serious infections.

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