COMMACK, New York, October 16
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
While worldwide concerns of the deadly Ebola virus remain high, the Town of Huntington may have another health problem to worry about.
On Oct. 9, Commack High School officials confirmed through a post on the district’s website that two students were recently diagnosed with the potentially-deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterium. The students, the post says, were treated for the infection, are not contagious and have returned to school at Commack.
With that, the post on the website has taken a more preventative tone; hyperlinks lead to the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (DOH). These links provide information as to how the infection can be prevented and what steps athletes and coaches – those potentially most at risk of infection – can take to ensure safety.
“The [Commack School District] is following preventative practices recommended by the NYS Department of Health, including disinfection of gym areas and showers,” the post reads. “The best prevention for this infection is frequent hand-washing, and using cleaning materials that prevent the spread of infections.”
Symptoms of a community-associated (CA) MRSA infection, the DOH website reads, typically appear with reddened areas on the skin that look like pimples and develop into skin abscesses or boils that cause fever, pus, swelling or pain. CA-MRSA is typically spread when open cuts are exposed to the bacteria through person-to-person contact or through contact with a contaminated item like a towel, article of clothing or piece of athletic equipment.
In 2011, Nicholas Mauriello – then 16 years old and a wrestler for Hauppauge High School – contracted the infection that nearly killed him. After almost a year of recovery time, Mauriello was healthy – but MRSA concerns on Long Island have remained ever since.
“Our primary concern is the safety and health of each of the children in the Commack community,” Commack’s website reads. “Should any parent become aware that their child has contracted MRSA, they should immediately advise their school nurse, who will keep names confidential.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, October 16, 2014; A14)