Should Schools be Required to Report MRSA Outbreaks

Sports Related MRSA

 

For more than a decade, there have been cases of MRSA outbreaks happening in schools; most of them centering around sports teams. The question is: should state law require school faculty to report a MRSA outbreak in the school? This seems to be the $64,000.00 dollar question and it’s an interesting question, to say the least. The answer, however, may create more questions than it answers. In short, the answer is no, they are not required by law to report outbreaks. The standard school protocol is that the school’s medical staff will evaluate students on a case by case basis, providing as much treatment as they can before recommending the student seek emergency or off site medical help.

 

CA-MRSA, or Community-Acquired MRSA, is seen most often among the school’s athletic teams, particularly among wrestling and football players. This makes perfect sense when you consider the equipment and gear that they use like their safety pads and helmets, not to mention sharing a sweaty and crowded community locker room. Sweat and even blood are commonly found here and because it only takes a tiny portal of entry for MRSA to enter the body, everybody can be at risk.

 

Still, the school itself, is not obligated to make a case known. However, if there are enough students or athletes who have contracted CA-MRSA, the school may feel obligated in a sense to inform parents and the community of the current and potential conditions. For a parent, this may be a little unsettling to know, but if the school’s medical staff feel they have the situation contained and the known infections covered, they are not obligated by law to clean, disinfect or sweep the school to prevent future outbreaks. In other words, you may never even know it happened until your child becomes infected with the superbug known as MRSA.

 

Schools on every level are encouraged to contact their respective state’s Department of Health when larger outbreaks occur. They are also urged to suspend sports or school activities until the situation is under control with no new or additional cases being reported.There is also some comfort in knowing that most schools are performing these cleaning techniques on a regular basis in efforts to prevent MRSA outbreaks before they start and they are required to use only EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved formulas to do this and Clear Gear Sports Spray is EPA tested and approved. Regular applications of EPA approved sprays should be used by all schools in any common areas, not just in the athletics department and not just in the event of an outbreak. The truth is that the key to beating MRSA is not getting infected at all by always practicing good hygiene. In the case of school outbreaks, the motto should certainly be, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

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