MRSA infections remain a back-to-school risk

sept 1, 2015

A private Washington school attended for decades by political luminaries and their children is standing out this month for another reason. St. Alban's is one of the latest schools to to be hit by MRSA infections, which are most commonly thought of as affecting elderly hospital patients.
Two of the high school football team's players have skin infections caused by the superbug known as MRSA, which stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to a note sent to parents Monday.

The outbreak illustrates just how vulnerable young athletes can be to the superbug, which is both difficult to treat and highly contagious.


It’s not unusual to see outbreaks of skin infections like the one at St. Albans, but public reporting is spotty. In January, some Long Island schools reported cases among sports teams. The Prince William County, Va., public school system, which publicly reports cases on its website, had a confirmed case in January, March and May of this year.

“Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point where it has gotten more and more common,” says Kevin Kavanagh, a physician and superbug expert who runs a Kentucky-based patient advocacy organization called Health Watch USA.

States generally don’t require every individual case of “community-acquired” skin infections to be reported, so statistics can be difficult to come by. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no data showing the total number of people who get MRSA skin infections outside of hospitals.

“We just don’t have good reporting data on this,” Kavanagh says.

Some recent reports:

MRSA reported in Covington school

Wantagh school district: Staff member being treated for MRSA

Parents say school did not inform them of MRSA case

Roosevelt HS football player tests positive for MRSA
Alleghany County schools react to confirmed MRSA case

Officials confirm MRSA case at Waxhaw Elementary