Epidemic Hazard – North-America – USA

EDIS Number: EH-20120331-34725-USA
Date / time: 31/03/2012 04:41:22 [UTC]
Event: Epidemic Hazard
Area: North-America
Country: USA
State/County: State of California
Location: San Diego [Cathedral Catholic High School]
Number of Deads: N/A
Number of Injured: N/A
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: N/A
Damage level: N/A


Cathedral Catholic High School canceled classes and all campus activities Thursday afternoon until Monday, after officials were notified that a student has a possible case of antibiotic-resistant staph infection, according to the school website. The 1,700-student private school in Carmel Valley will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by trained maintenance workers before the campus reopens on Monday. School officials could not be reached Friday, but posted a letter to parents on the campus website that reads, “We feel that we are best serving the interests and well-being of our students, families, and employees by taking this precaution.” The student is suspected of having Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a serious and potentially life-threatening infection requiring medical treatment. The staph infection is almost always spread through direct physical contact with an infected person or through contact with objects the infected person has touched such as towels, sheets, clothes, workout areas or sports equipment, according to the county Health & Human Services Agency. Symptoms usually are a painful red area of the skin that may include a raised bump or abscess, sometimes accompanied by fevers and chills. Recognizing symptoms and getting treatment early reduces the risk of the infection becoming severe, health officials advise.

Until the 1990s, MRSA generally was found only in hospitals and nursing homes but since then it has become more common in the general public. The number of hospital-based cases has declined in the last decade while community-based cases have increased rapidly, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2008, the California Department of Public Health began requiring health care providers to report severe cases of Staphylococcus aureus in the community that resulted in hospitalization or death. In 2010, 163 severe cases were reported statewide, including three in San Diego County; preliminary numbers for 2011 show 197 severe cases in California, including nine in the county. The CDC recommends school officials consult with public health officials when a case of MRSA is reported, but that it’s generally not necessary to close a campus to clean it or to notify the whole school over a single case of MRSA. The CDC suggests using specific cleansers on surfaces that could come into contact with an exposed infection, such as benches in a weight room or locker room, and sports equipment.

Syndicated from RSOE EDIS - Emergency and Disaster Information