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Precautions taken after two MRSA cases at Hernando High, officials say

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County school officials said Friday the recent MRSA diagnoses at Hernando High School were limited to two football players and that the school has taken extensive precautionary measures to sanitize facilities.

School officials began cleaning parts of the school Oct. 5, before the two students were officially diagnosed with the bacterial infection, said district spokesman Roy Gordon.

The school's locker room was powerwashed and treated with a special cleaning solvent. The school also sanitized the weight room and the students' classrooms, he said. School officials cleaned the facilities three separate times over the course of the month, he said.

There have been no further issues with the bacteria.

The district did not provide information on the condition of the two students.

The students were diagnosed Oct. 17, the same day school officials sent home a letter from the Hernando County Health Department notifying parents and telling them how to take precautions, Gordon said.

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and can be difficult to treat due to its resistance to many kinds of antibiotics. The infection can begin as a small pimple or boil, and is most commonly spread by having close physical contact with an infected person. It can also be contracted from items like towels, sheets and razors.

While the infection is worrisome, it can be controlled, said Ann-Gayl Ellis, spokeswoman for the Hernando County Health Department.

"It's very treatable; we can prevent the spread of it," Ellis said. "Neither the school district nor the Department of Health want parents and children unnecessarily alarmed."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend keeping children out of school because of a MRSA diagnosis, she said. Doctors recommend the person see a physician for care, keep the wound covered, avoid skin-to-skin contact, wash hands and not share personal items.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Contact Danny Valentine at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Precautions taken after two MRSA cases at Hernando High, officials say 11/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 1, 2013 9:37pm]
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