Student hospitalized for staph

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October 30, 2007

2:17 AM

__After contracting life-threatening MRSA, student hospitalized, treated and released__

A student at the College was hospitalized Oct. 19 when she contracted Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, a disease that has been showing up in schools nationwide. She was treated and released.

p. According to the Daily Press, almost 40 cases of the disease, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, have been confirmed recently in Virginia. Ashton Bonds, 17, a senior at Staunton River High School in Bedford County, died Oct. 15 of complications from a serious MRSA infection after being hospitalized for a week.

p. Since the infection is now present on campus, experts warn that students should be careful to wash their hands frequently. The infection spreads through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or contact with an infected surface.

p. According to Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler, the disinfectants that the College cleaning staff already use are effective against MRSA.

p. There have been many recent reports of MRSA in the United States. This disease, formerly prevalent in hospitals and jails, has become increasingly common in schools, possibly due to the crowded conditions.

p. “Lately there has been a lot of attention in the press to the infection … because in its more serious ramifications, it can be hard to treat and because there seems to be an increase of cases in the local area,” Sadler said in an e-mail to students.

p. MRSA has been diagnosed in other states, including the case of Omar Rivera, 12, of Brooklyn, N.Y. who died Oct. 14.

p. “I want you to know that it is not unusual for our Health Center to diagnose and treat cases of MRSA,” Sadler said in the e-mail.

p. “All of the MRSA infections we have had at William and Mary have been treated successfully and very few have required hospitalization.”

p. Sadler had some advice for avoiding MRSA.

p. “Among those [precautions] are washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer; showering immediately after exercise; avoiding the sharing of towels, razors or other items which can transmit bacteria; and putting a barrier such as clothing or a towel between you and objects others might use,” he said.

p. Students at the College do not seem to be overly worried.
“It’s kind of scary to know that MRSA has been diagnosed here, but I don’t really think about it very much,” Cameron Glenn ’11 said.

p. But precautions were still taken. “We cleaned and disinfected our room, though, just to be sure,” Stacey Jefferson ’11, Glenn’s roommate, added.

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