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States Report Teacher Staph Infections

Student-contracted staph infections, which in at least one case has been terminal, have recently been reported from New Hampshire to Georgia. Four cases of teachers infected with the methicillin-resistant MRSA have also appeared in local headlines. And a national report released this week indicates that staph infections killed more people in 2005 than HIV/AIDS, proving that it is more common than previously thought.

According to The Press of Atlantic City, an elementary school teacher in Bridgeton, N.J., has been out of work for two weeks since acquiring the infection during a hospital stay. Upon notification of the teacher’s infection—10 days after the teacher fell ill—Cherry Street School contacted the county health department and hired an environmental firm to determine if bacteria remained in the building. “The school has gone above and beyond what they could do in the situation,” said Robin Priggemeier, an area health educator. The teacher has declined to reveal his or her identity. Other states reporting teacher staph infections include Louisiana, Ohio, and West Virginia.

The CDC reports that poor hygiene is one of the most frequently associated causes of MRSA. To discourage infection, the health organization suggests frequent hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitizer and avoiding skin-to-skin contact, the sharing of towels, and other people’s open wounds.

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