The following information was obtained from the Center for Disease Control, the American School Health Association and the U.S. Department of Education.
MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a common bacteria that has developed resistance to several antibiotics. It is most commonly found in health-care facilities but has recently increased in communal settings, such as schools and public gymnasiums. The Center for Disease Control identifies the 5 "C"s of MRSA that make it easier to transmit: C rowding, frequent skin-to-skin Contact, Compromised skin (i.e. cuts or abrasions), Contaminated items and surfaces, and lack of Cleanliness. It is generally transmitted through direct hand-to-hand contact though rarely a life-threatening disease.
VRSA or Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is more resistant to certain antibiotics than MRSA but less common. The best way to prevent the spread of MRSA (or VRSA) is to encourage good hygiene, establish a routine cleaning procedure with effective disinfectants, identify areas of likely contamination (such as locker rooms and restrooms), provide soap, paper towels and the time for students to wash their hands and by educating students about the disease.
The Buildings and Grounds Department has established specific green cleaning procedures and products to significantly reduce the risk of contracting MRSA, VRSA or other pathogens. Custodial staff currently use Spartan Chemicals' 103 (neutral disinfectant), which has been tested to effectively kill the MRSA and VRSA bacteria.
In most cases (according to the Department of Education and the EPA) it is unnecessary to close a school in the event of a MRSA outbreak if confined to one or two students. During a MRSA incident at one of our schools it was determined that the student brought the infection from home. That evening, additional custodians were called in to disinfect all horizontal surfaces throughout the facility, including "high-touch" areas such as door knobs, pencil sharpeners and keyboards. Restrooms were disinfected using pump sprayers while specific attention was given to the student's homeroom, the multipurpose room (gym/café) and the art room. The school opened the next day (with no additional incidents) while the student was treated at home.
If you have any questions regarding our MRSA response protocol, please contact the Buildings and Grounds Department at 248-746-8532.