GUILDERLAND: Student treated for staph

A Guilderland High School student is now one of several students in the Capital District being treated for the MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, infection.

The Guilderland case is the latest in a string of reported infections. Already there have been two cases reported in Ballston Spa and four in Rotterdam schools. Officials in the Bethlehem Central School District said they were recently made aware of a past MRSA case regarding a Bethlehem High School student in September of this year.

The school will be sending a letter to parents later this week with information regarding the case. The student has recovered from the staph infection and is back at school.

A letter was sent home with Guilderland students Thursday, Oct. 18, informing parents of the news and providing facts sheets about the infection with suggestions for precautionary measures.

Schools throughout the state are trying to stop the potentially life-threatening staph infection from spreading further. Albany County's Public Health Department is working with Guilderland to treat and prevent any more cases in the district.

Symptoms of MRSA include a reddened area of the skin, which often resembles a pimple. These areas can develop into skin abscesses or boils and cause fever, pus, swelling and/or pain. These skin infections are often treated by draining the abscess or boil and with antibiotics.

The difference between MRSA and CA-MRSA, or community-associated MRSA, is that CA-MRSA can be found in healthy people who have not been hospitalized. MRSA is usually spread within health-care facilities. Health officials believe the strain being reported in local schools is the community-associated variety.

The Guilderland MRSA case did not occur in a student athlete, as did the cases in Ballston Spa.

Continued efforts at North and South Colonie School districts have kept MRSA at bay, say school officials.

Cleaning efforts were stepped up upon news of the spreading infection.

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