MRSA sought in several counties - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MRSA sought in several counties

October 29, 2007

Albany -- The Southwest Georgia Public Health District is investigating several potential cases of that drug-resistant Superbug in at least six southwest Georgia counties.   Friday, we were the first to tell you that they confirmed single cases at two different Dougherty County Schools.   Public Health officials are most concerned about a clustering of cases.

Today, an infection prevention specialist said spraying down classrooms and buses hasn't proven to prevent the spread of the bug, but good hygiene has.  

Two cases of MRSA, a serious and drug-resistant staph infection, at two different Dougherty County Schools and one reported case in Lee County, have the Public Health District's Epidemiologist concerned about other potential cases.

"We are in the process of investigating some other cases to see if we have any clustering going on, but right now we do not," said Southwest Public Health District Epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins.

Those cases come from as many as six counties, but what they're most concerned about is several cases in the same county or school. Health officials are working with school nurses district wide.

"We've done an in service to talk about MRSA and to talk about hand washing to let them know what to look for," said Jenkins.

But infectious disease specialists say there's no evidence to show the school's actions to wash down classrooms or buses helps.

"This is person to person, cleaning locker rooms and buses there's no evidence that, that makes a difference," says Dr. Craig Smith of Infectious Diseases Consultants of Southwest Georgia.

He says keeping cuts clean, not touching someone's wound, not sharing towels, and cleaning shared equipment can help. It's when you see several cases in close proximity that it's cause for concern.

 "So if there's a little cluster then we do look at that because if you're spreading it to your spouse, or your family or your workers or your schoolmates then yes someone needs to go in and educate them and break the cycle and make sure doesn't spread," said Dr. Smith.

Public Health is still waiting for several cultures to come back. They say diagnosing MRSA can take up to three days.

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