Letcher County School officials made the decision to close schools Thursday after being told by a parent that her child, a student at the high school, had a staph infection. Thursday, crews worked to disinfect every building in the county, but experts warn that protecting yourself from staph is up to you.
The smell of cleaning spray was hard to miss in the halls of Letcher Central High School Thursday. Crews worked all day to disinfect every desk and every surface in all of the county's school buildings. That's after another confirmed case of staph turns up at an Eastern Kentucky school.
"Everybody makes a different decision based on the facts they have and after consulting our health community, I felt for the safety of our students and the educational community that was the best decision we could make for our people," said Anna Craft, Letcher County School Superintendent.
Thursday, every school, even the busses were cleaned and though the halls will be sparkling clean come Monday, infectious disease experts say simple hygiene is the most effective way to avoid staph.
"The key point about staph infections is infection control. Washing your hands daily, before and after engaging in any activity, don't share clothes, towels bed linen or anything with anyone who has it," said Dr. Fares Khater, Infectious Disease Specialist.
So should parents worry about staph and MRSA? Well it's not something to ignore but as long as your child is protecting him or herself....
"Panic is the least thing we should do. If the kid, in the next few days develops a lesion on his skin, then he can consult with his physician, but usually, we should not panic," Dr. Khater said.
Health officials tell us that just because a student at a school has a staph infection, that school does not by any means have to close. The schools that are doing so, that's a decision that they've made, however, as long as your child is conscientious about hand washing, not sharing items, he or she should be ok.
For more information on MRSA in schools, log on to: http://www.cdc.gov/features/MRSAinSchools