MRSA Information

Presented is important information on what Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, pronounced mer-sah) is, and how to prevent getting it. As with so many diseases, education and prevention are the most powerful weapons for combating MRSA.
  • About 30% of the population carries Staph aureus bacteria on the skin or in the nose. Most staph infections are skin infections that are minor and easily treated.
  • Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) is a type of Staph aureus bacteria that had developed resistance to the antibiotic methicillin and usually several other antibiotics. This resistance makes MRSA infections more difficult to treat.
  • MRSA is not a new disease, nor is it specific to Indiana or to school settings. Because MRSA is so common, it is not reportable in Indiana.
  • A small percentage of the population also carries MRSA on the skin or in the nose. Most MRSA infections are skin infections that are treatable.
  • Rarely, MRSA infections can be fatal. This can happen if MRSA bacteria get into the blood stream or other body organs. These infections can be very difficult to treat.
  • Proper prevention at all times can help decrease incidence of MRSA infections:
    • Practice frequent and appropriate hand hygiene. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be readily available in addition to functional hand washing facilities. Parents, school officials, and coaches should practice and encourage frequent hand hygiene.
    • Keep open areas on the skin covered with a waterproof or impermeable bandage.
    • Do not share personal hygiene items such as soap, towels, etc.
    • Do not touch other person's bandages or open skin areas.
    • See your health care provider immediately if you notice wounds or skin breaks that are red, swollen, painful, or draining. Students, including athletes, who notice these at school should immediately report them to the school nurse or athletic coach.
    • Routinely clean and sanitize areas where there is frequent direct skin contact, such as locker rooms and athletic equipment.

Schools


Schools should contact local health departments for recommendations when sending an advisory letter to parents. If a notification letter is issued, the message should always include prevention measures. Proper disinfectant products should be used and the proper dilution with appropriate contact times must be followed as directed on the product label. School officials should monitor what areas are being cleaned and by whom.