CHURCH HILL — Officials from Volunteer High School have reported one student with a confirmed case of MRSA, a “staph” infection caused by a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans.
Hawkins County Director of Schools Charlotte Britton said Wednesday that officials have taken all possible precautions at the school level to clean areas that are shared by students including training equipment, locker rooms and shower areas.
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is of most concern to health officials because it is a strain of bacterium that has developed resistance to antibiotics.
MRSA is primarily spread through contact with the bacteria, either by direct person-to-person contact or indirectly through shared equipment, personal articles or contaminated surfaces.
Britton said she was first told about the potential infection at Volunteer on Sunday, and the lone student’s case was confirmed Monday.
“The safety and security of all students is of utmost importance, and therefore our school system is taking every precaution to ensure our schools are safe, clean and a healthy environment for student learning,” Britton said. “Coaches have talked with their players on individual cleanliness to avoid any unwelcome health issues. Routine precautions set forth by the Tennessee Department of Health have been followed.”
Parents can help prevent the spread of the bacterium by encouraging their child to wash hands frequently, encouraging athletes to wash athletic clothing after each use, and instructing students not to share personal hygiene items such as towels, washcloths, razors and soap.
Volunteer High School has a school-based health clinic served by the Rural Health Services Consortium.