Microsoft word - mrsa-parent letter.doc

1381 West Lake Street Libertyville, IL 60048 Adler Park School • Butterfield School • Copeland Manor School Rockland School • Highland Middle School Many of you may have read or heard about the increasing number of reports of both outbreaksand sporadic cases of Community- Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphlococcus Aureus (CA-MRSA) infections. This increase is being reported nationally.
We want to take this time to assure you that all precautions are being taken to insure a clean andsanitary environment in all of our schools. Classrooms continue to be routinely disinfected, andstaff and students are being urged to practice strict personal hygiene. While we are aware thatone case has been reported in Libertyville District 70, we are doing everything possible in ourschools to maintain a healthy environment. We seek your cooperation by reinforcing with yourchild the need for cleanliness and proper hygiene. Please take a few minutes to read thefollowing information about MRSA.
Written by The Illinois Department of Public Health
MRSA- Methicillin-Resistant Staphlococcus aureus
What is Staphylococcus aureus (staph)?
Staphlococcus aureus (Staf-lo-coc-cus aw-ree-us) is a bacterium that is commonly carried in the
nose and on the skin of healthy people. The bacterium is often referred to as “staph.” It is
estimated that 30 percent of the population carries staph on their skin or in their nose. Methicillin
of penicillin and cephalosporins are generally used to treat staph infections. About 1 percent of
persons have a type of staph resistant to these antibiotics called methicillin - resistant staph
, which is often referred to as MRSA. Other antibiotics must be used to treat MRSA
infections. The drug Vancomycin has proven to be the most effective and reliable in these cases,
but it is used intravenously and is not effective against MRSA when taken by mouth. Over the
past 20 years, MRSA infections have occurred among patients in hospitals or long-term care
facilities. However, MRSA infections are becoming more common in otherwise healthy persons
who have not had contact with health care personnel or patients. These infections are known as
“Community-Associated MRSA” or CA-MRSA infections.
What does a staph infection look like?
Most infections caused by staph are skin infections, such as pimples or boils. Staph skin
infections can be red, painful, swollen, or have pus or other drainage. More serious staph
infections can also cause pneumonia and infections of the blood and joints.
How is staph spread?
Staph is more easily spread by contaminated hands that have not been washed properly. It can
also be transmitted by contact with secretions from infected skin lesions, wounds and nasal
discharge, and objects and surfaces contaminated with staph. MRSA is not spread easily, but is
difficult to treat.
Close skin-to-skin contact; openings in the skin, such as abrasions or cuts; contaminated items orsurfaces; and crowded living conditions are some factors linked to the spread of staph or MRSAskin infections among athletes, children, military recruits and correctional facility inmates.
How do you prevent staph skin infections?
Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based
hand gel.
Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.
If I have staph or MRSA skin infections, what can I do to prevent others from getting
Cover your wound. Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry
Follow your health care provider’s instructions. Pus from infected wounds can contain
staph or MRSA. Keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others.
Bandages or tape can be thrown away with the regular trash.
Wash your hands. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash hands often
with soap and warm water, especially after changing a bandage or touching an infectedwound. You can use an alcohol-based hand gel when soap and water are not available.
Do not share personal items. Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths,
razors, clothing, or uniforms that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage.
Wash soiled sheets, towels, and clothes with water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes ina hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes.
Talk to your doctor. Tell any health care providers who treat you that you have or had a
Illinois Department of Public Health at
MRSA Health Beat. Illinois Department of Public Health. Available at



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