• Third Union County student infected with highly contagious staph infection

    By: Tina Terry , Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    UNION COUNTY, N.C. - Union Day School in Weddington has confirmed a second case of a highly contagious staph infection Tuesday, Union County officials said. 

    Union County officials confirmed the health department was notified about a second case of MRSA, a type of bacteria that is resistant to several antibiotics. 

    [ALSO READ: Highly contagious staph infection reported at Union Elementary School]

    The school said it is following the appropriate procedures to handle the case by contacting parents, cleaning the facility and communicating with the county health department.


    STATEMENT SENT TO PARENTS: 

    Today we had learned that a UDS student has been diagnosed with MRSA.  As always our first priority is the safety of our students and we will continue measures to ensure that our facilities are thoroughly cleaned.  We continue to clean the school with hospital-grade cleaner and sanitizer, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Also, the school nurse will monitor all students for MRSA symptoms, we will enforce school fever protocol to reduce possible infections, and all open wounds will be sent to school nurse to be covered and evaluated.

    To help with minimizing the spread of germs, please wash laundry before use, wash hands after touching dirty clothes, and be sure not to share personal items such as towels, wash clothes, razors, clothing, uniforms, or cosmetics at home or school.  Also, cover all open wounds to protect from bacteria until healed. Frequent handwashing at least 20 seconds of rigorous scrubbing is recommended and the use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (Purell has 70%) is also recommended. In addition, prevent the picking of sores.

    Symptoms of MRSA are like most other infections. Symptoms include: redness, swelling, pain, sores or areas that are warm to touch, and/or areas full of puss or other drainage symptoms, accompanied by fever.  Any of the above symptoms need to be seen by a doctor. For more information, please visit CDC.org.

    Again, please know that we consider the safety of everyone our number one concern and are taking steps to keep everyone healthy.


    In a message sent to parents, officials said they are cleaning the school with hospital-grade cleaner and sanitizer and the school nurse is continuing to monitor students for possible symptoms. 

    “I think it should be cleaned thoroughly,” said Vandana Soni, whose child does not attend the school. “We’re sending our kids to a place, and I would want it to be clean and not be worried about infections like this.”

    This is the third confirmed case of MRSA in a student in Union County in just weeks.

    ​​​​​[CDC: MRSA FACT SHEET]

    A note was sent home to families at Union Elementary in Wingate Sept. 30 warning them that a student had the infection.

    The second case in the county was confirmed at Union Day School on Oct. 15.

    "It’s resistant to many types of antibiotics, which makes it a little troubling," said Union County Public Health Director Dennis Joyner. "There is MRSA cases out there that we don't know about."

    That's because medical professionals are not required to report cases of MRSA.

    Joyner told Channel 9 while he believes the latest cases don't indicate a growing problem, it's hard to tell.

    "It's very hard to project what that trend or how frequent or infrequent it is in the community," he said.

    Joyner said there are no requirements to report MRSA because as bad as it sounds, it's rarely life-threatening.

    "It is also fairly common in the community at large," he told Channel 9.

    He said many people can have MRSA without adverse health issues. Washing hands thoroughly with soap for more than 20 seconds can keep it from spreading.

    School officials said they are disinfecting areas to try to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

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