This superbug is super scary.
Annually, MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is causing more deaths than AIDS, according to recently collected data. The virus got its name because the infection is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin along with oxacillin, penicillin and others.
Even though it's been around a long time, the death of a high school boy in Virginia and infection of at least 14 other students in eastern states has officials everywhere looking at ways to prevent the antibiotic resistant illness.
Most infections occur in immune weakened individuals in hospitals or other health facilities but athletic locker rooms can also turn up the dreaded bug.
Stephenville High School Head Athletic Trainer said he and others work diligently to make sure students are educated about the infection that can in some cases become fatal.
“Students are told to come directly to a trainer as soon as they notice any kind of lesion or abrasion, Carroll said. “I just had someone come by at lunch today so I could check out a place that had some redness.
Carroll said flyers and posters from the Texas Department of Health regarding prevention are posted in all athletic locker rooms and the athletic training room.
“We also have antibacterial soap dispensers in every locker room next to the sinks, Carroll said. “Most dressing rooms have air hand dryers to minimize the amount of paper towel waste as well as towel sharing, which is discouraged.
Carroll said several other things are done to minimize the chance of contracting MRSA. He said custodians clean daily with a bleach solution, but Wednesdays are “Super Clean Day and the students disinfect and clean out lockers.
Carroll said he knows of no confirmed cases in the area, but said that might be because most doctors don't actually perform tests to positively identify the strain. Carroll said doctors tend to treat it if they suspect that is what the illness is, rather than wait to get a test back.
“Even this year we've had some (students) going to the doctor, Carroll said. “Every doctor treats it a little differently. Some students are allowed to work out as long as the area is covered with a bandage and some are not.
Carroll said despite the staff's best efforts sometimes athletes share towels and soap.
“We take 10 dozen towels to the game on Fridays and discourage sharing but it still happens, Carroll said. He said somebody will use a towel to wipe his or her face and then toss it to another guy.
Carroll said in the beginning the infection, “looks like a pimple or fire ant bite.
He said the staff is taking all precautions to keep clean equipment and locker areas in order to prevent infections.
“We're proactive about these things and people have gotten more educated about this in the last 10 years, Carroll said.