Friday, October 19, 2007

Staph Fears Force Districts To Take Extra Precautions

Fear of a contagious skin infection called staph along with the drug resistant strain referred to as MRSA have caused anxiety in Texas schools, jails and hospitals. Staph is staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This bacterium is very common (many people have some living on their skin all the time), but when it enters the human body, usually through an open cut or break in the skin, it can cause infection and trouble anywhere in the body. Staph infections tend to be pus-producing. Common minor (or relatively minor) skin infections caused by staph is boils, abscesses and hair follicles. Staph can be easily passed from one individual to the next. Staph is transmitted by skin to skin contact or by sharing towel, soap or clothes. Sports teams tend to pass it to others in locker rooms and through sharing equipment. A local survey of the Dallas area had 60 confirmed cases and 27 confirmed cases on the drug resistant form. The rapid rise of cases has led to phone calls and letters to parents to warn them of the signs and confirmed cases. Current laws do not require the school to be informed if a child is infected. When a school is not properly informed the proper sanitary actions cannot be taken. This lack of communication allows the infection to be spread easier. Fear of this infection makes students not feel they are in a safe environment. When children are concerned for their safety they cannot properly focus to learn. To make the school environment safer the Texas Health Officials should require all sports equipment to be sanitized daily instead of weekly and should require sanitizing the locker and classrooms twice a day. While the increased cleaning staff will increase school’s budget it could lead to higher attendance with children missing less due to infection. The increased attendance will improve TAKS, SAT and ACT scores because the children will feel safer in their environment and more open to learn.

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