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Form of staph infection hits school
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Blaker Kinser Junior High School went into a disinfection scrub mode last week when a parent notified authorities that her daughter was diagnosed with MRSA, a very serious type of staph.

MRSA is short for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

Jerry Panella, director of Student Support Services for the Ceres Unified School District, said the school was notified at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday of the eighth-grader's medical condition. School authorities ordered a disinfection of common areas that evening.

MRSA is primarily transmitted through physical contact.

Panella said the student was absent from school the rest of the week.

"I feel good about what we did," said Panella. "We sanitized the school and brought in sub custodians to do more."

The school also ordered supplies of hand sanitizer.

"It's not that easy to get," said Panella. "It has to be by touch or the infection has to have a way to enter the body, such as a cut or abrasion."

He said the single most important safeguard against getting it is washing hands.

Parents were notified through an automated telephone system and a follow-up letter sent home with students.

Information was posted on the CUSD website, Nurses are also ready to answer questions from parents.

Staph infections, including MRSA, generally start as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also burrow deep into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.