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Staph cases at Northside grow to five

By Staff
Two students OK’d to resume activities
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
Five cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, a type of staph infection resistant to antibiotics, have been reported at Northside High School, according to Beaufort County school officials.
A fifth MRSA case at Northside had been reported late Thursday, Hodges confirmed.
After two cases of staph infections were reported at the school on Sept. 19, Hodges called their occurrence an “isolated incident.” A third case was reported Sept. 21, the same day a fourth student tested negative for a staph infection.
Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons who have weak immune systems or in hospitals and health care facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s Web site.
MRSA infections in patients who have not recently been hospitalized are known as community-associated MRSA, according to the CDC Web site.
The cases that have shown up at Northside are community-associated MRSA, Hodges said in an interview last week.
All schools attended by infected students are implementing cleaning and sanitizing procedures recommended by the Beaufort County Health Department, according to the statement.
Community-associated MRSA manifests as skin infections such as pimples and boils. The infected area may be red, swollen, painful or have pus or other drainage, according to the CDC Web site.
Ainsworth said adults and children should wash their hands often to prevent contracting the disease. Patients with staph symptoms should keep the suspect areas properly covered, she recommended. Parents should immediately contact a physician if any “suspicious” areas appear on their child’s skin, she said.