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Schools taking steps to prevent MRSA outbreak

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By Jay Cason

A letter sent to the homes of all Anderson County public school students last week warns parents about risks of methicillin-resistant Staphylociccys aureus, or MRSA, was intended as a precautionary measure, said school nurse Michelle Searcy.

"We've been in daily contact with the county health department and physicians," she said Thursday. "There are no confirmed cases that we're aware of. If we do have one, we will treat it appropriately."

Two days ago, Searcy said there were still no confirmed cases in Anderson County schools.

"Since one parent said she thought her child had the infection, parents have been going to the doctor thinking they have it, but they don't. But to be safe, we are telling parents to take their children to the doctor if they have any doubt.

"We've also purchased extra cleaning supplies and our custodians are doing additional cleaning, just to be as safe as possible."

"We're also going to do extra cleaning and sanitizing tomorrow, (election day when students were not at school) just to make sure," said Anderson County School Superintendent Kim Shaw.

MRSA is a strain of staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics. It is not airborne but can be spread through direct with someone infected, or through contact with items that have been in contact with an infected person. Without treatment, it poses serious health risks.

A confirmed case was reported in Pikeville, where 23 were schools closed Oct. 29, for cleaning and disinfecting.

For more information about MRSA, visit the Anderson County School District website at www.anderson.k12.