Officials are warning that a deadly, drug resistant strain of staph bacteria is infecting large numbers of high school students - especially football players. One school in a small Texas town outside of Dallas was hit hard by this potentially fatal infection.
"Staph has been a part of athletic programs forever," said David Goff, Director of Operations at Van ISD. "But, the new phenomenon is that we're dealing with this MRSA and it's so dangerous and can be deadly."
As you may know, it is called the super bug because of its resistance to many antibiotics. Angie Hullum's son is one of several Van varsity football players infected with MRSA, which she first detected by spots and sores on his skin. "By the time we got to the doctor, they were very inflamed and his hand was starting to swell and it progressively got worse throughout the week but they put him on the IV antibiotic immediately," said Hullum.
Doctors say the key is recognizing symptoms early enough. "We do have drugs that can treat that...but there are cases where they become more complicated and they require more aggressive treatment," explained Dr. Jeffrey Levin, with U.T. Health Science Center.
Several starters have been out on Van's varsity football team since the infections popped up. "We're looking every day they come off the practice field," said Goff. "If there's a cut, a scrape, anything, they're basically being inspected."
"We play on turf so much more and so you're going to get abrasions more than on grass," said Hullum.
David Goff says Van has not had any new cases in the past week. They are following guidelines from the Texas Department of Health which includes special sanitation of their facilities. "We're trying to educate the kids on how to take care of themselves," said Goff. "Mainly, it's kind of like H1N1 last year, the same kind of thing."
He says it is something all schools are having to learn to deal with, recognizing the danger and exercising good hygiene to keep it from spreading.
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