CLASSES STOPPED FOR ONE DAY:
WEST PLATTE SCHOOLS UNDERGO CLEANSING FOR STAPH THREAT
by Alan McArthur
The West Platte School District canceled classes on Tuesday in order for crews to disinfect the buildings.
The district serves around 675 students.
In the midst of a rash of outbreaks of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) the district decided on Monday to close the schools for Tuesday and clean them.
According to Kyle Stephenson, superintendent, the district has two students who have been treated for MRSA.
One of the students is in the elementary and has been an ongoing case since 2004.
The other student is in high school and had been reported as having MRSA before school started for the year.
Stephenson said the district chose to close primarily as a preventive measure to ensure the MRSA would not spread, and so parents would know the district is working to stop any further cases.
“This is a small community and everyone knows everything about what’s going on,” said Stephenson. “So people will know about the children and now they will know what we’ve done to clean up.”
The custodians have been using procedures recommended by the EPA and Platte County Health Department. The procedures call for the use of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. The mixture takes approximately 20 to 30 seconds to kill the bacteria.
“We are trying to be as careful as we can be right now,” said Stephenson.
West Platte schools were set to be back in session on Wednesday after the one-day closure.
The same staph infection has been reported by three students in the Park Hill High School. In response, Park Hill custodians and coaches have stepped up precautions to clean and sanitize any surfaces capable of spreading illness.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): "Most 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.”
MRSA is transmitted through direct skin to skin contact or contact with items or surfaces that have come in contact with another person's infection.
HEALTH DEPT. CHECKS IN
Due to the case of MRSA recently diagnosed in Weston, and the subsequent closure of the school Tuesday, the Platte County Health Dept. says it has received a number of inquiries from concerned parents and citizens regarding the situation and what can be done to protect the public. Following are key points that might be helpful in understanding MRSA and simple strategies for preventing its spread.
•MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (resistant to antibiotics).
•Staphylococcus is a common bacteria that all of us carry.
•MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage.
•MRSA infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, or parts of the body covered by hair.
¨•Almost all MRSA skin infections can be effectively treated by the drainage of pus with or without antibiotics. (More serious infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections or bone infections are rare in healthy people.)
¨•MRSA is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items (towels, used bandages) that have come into contact with someone else’s infection.
•Certain settings make it easier for MRSA to be transmitted such as Crowding, frequent skin-to-skin Contact, Compromised skin (i.e. cuts or abrasions), Contaminated items and surfaces, and lack of Cleanliness.
•Locations where the 5 C’s are common include schools, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities, and daycare centers.
•You can protect yourself and your loved ones from MRSA by:
•Practicing good hygiene, to include washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and showering immediately after exercise or participating in sports. When washing hands, scrub for 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or to recite the alphabet.
•Cover skin trauma (cuts and abrasions) with a clean and dry bandage until healed.
•Not sharing personal items (razors, towels) that come into contact with bare skin.
•Establishing cleaning procedures for frequently touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people’s skins. Clean surfaces with detergent based cleaners such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray for Kitchen.
For more information about MRSA go to www.cdc.gov; for a list of approved disinfectants go to www.epa.gov.