Death of Shasta Lake School Student Caused by MRSA

Sep 3, 2013 4:17 PM

(UPDATE) 3:34 p.m.- Based on the findings and information provided by Shasta County Public Health and the California Department of Public Health, the Gateway Unified School District will not be closing Shasta Lake School because of the MRSA infection. The district also stated they “will continue to provide well maintained classrooms and facilities. We will continue to pass on safety measures to parents. Students, and the community as a whole o better understand how to prevent MRSA.”

A local hospital confirmed with Shasta County Public Health this morning the cause of death of a Shasta Lake School student last week was MRSA, a type of bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics.

The Public Health Department stated in its release Staph or MRSA infections that commonly occur in the community are usually seen as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and may occur in otherwise healthy people. They sometimes can appear as spider bites.

Last week it was first suspected the young girl died of meningococcal disease because of the initial symptoms she exhibited. But after initial lab tests by the department, meningococcal disease was ruled out as the cause of death. A public forum for parents was held at the school’s gym last Friday.

MRSA is no different from other common staph infections, except that it does not respond to penicillin and related drugs

According to the department, MRSA accounts for roughly 60 percent of all staph infections and 30 percent of the population have staph on their skin or their noses and have no symptoms or problems. The danger the department indicated comes when MRSA spreads into someone with an open wound where the bacteria can quickly amplify its numbers. That is why, according to the department, “certain people, including hospitalized surgical patients and rough-and-tumble school athletes, are more vulnerable.”

Good hygiene and washing the hands frequently helps reduce the spread of the disease.

For more information about how to protect yourself against Staph/MRSA, please call Shasta County Public Health (225-5591) or visit the following websites:

MRSA Educational Materials


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