BUCKLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – Letters have been sent out to parents of students at Mohawk Trail Regional High School, after a student in the school was confirmed to have been infected with the penicillin-resistant bacteria MRSA.
MRSA, which is short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is unknowingly carried by many people in their noses, mouths, or skin, but it can cause illness if the bacteria enters an open wound. It is resistant to penicillin and other related antibiotics, but can be treated with other types of antibiotics.
Susan Mitchell, District Nurse Leader for the Mohawk Trail Regional School District, told 22News that the student, who is an athlete, did not need to be hospitalized. She said that under Department of Public Health policies, the child cannot be prohibited from attending class or participating in sports, so long as the wound is kept covered. She said that MRSA is spread through skin-to-skin contact, and that there are not the same risks for widespread infection in a school environment as there are in hospitals.
Mitchell said that the district has taken action to educate students, parents, and staff members about proper prevention, particularly handwashing. She said that a letter was sent home to parents notifying them that if their child has an open wound, that they should see their child’s primary care physician, who will determine whether it is necessary to test the wound for MRSA.
Additionally, Mitchell said that they are taking special care to sanitize all sports equipment.
Kimberly Hinkley of Chicopee said, “I believe that the child should go and be taken care of at a hospital facility or get medical attention, and then see what the doctor says and as long as the doctor says that its okay for the student to go back into the school setting then it’s okay.”
Below is a copy of the letter that went home to the student athletes and their parents at Mohawk Trail Regional High School