The Wall Township Primary School in Monmouth County has been fully sterilized, following a MRSA infection.

There was only one case reported but neither the school district or health officials would comment on if it was a student or faculty member afflicted. So just what is MRSA anyway?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections.

Antibiotics are great tools to help us get healthy when we're sick. However, after years of overuse and misuse, they're losing their power to fight certain infections. Some bacteria are becoming "resistant" to the medicines that are supposed to kill them. As more and more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, people are being infected with bacteria that are difficult to treat. This is becoming a serious health threat around the world.

State epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan has some valuable tips for everyone to follow. She says "many of these seem like common sense but in the busy hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes forget or get too involved in other things. MRSA can be prevented and you should know how what to look out for."

Anyone can get a MRSA skin infection. Even healthy people with healthy skin can become infected but are there any high risk groups to know about? Tan says yes! "Hospital patients, nursing home residents, children in day care, school kids, athletes, military recruits and prisoners can all be more prone to infection."

Staph bacteria, including MRSA, are almost always spread by direct physical contact. Staph bacteria are not spread through the air. The bacteria can also spread when people come into contact with objects that have been contaminated with the bacteria. These objects include towels, clothing, bedding, gym or sports equipment and bandages.

Some tips to prevent the spread of MRSA:

  • Cover cuts, scratches or scrapes with a clean bandage.
  • Place a towel or piece of clothing between your skin and surfaces of shared equipment such as mats or weight benches.
  • Wipe surfaces of gym equipment before and after use.
  • Take a shower after your workout.
  • Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol- based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages.
  • Don't share personal items such as towels or razors.

Tan describes the infection as red and blotchy with puss or other liquid drainage.  If you experience anything like this, be sure to call your healthcare provider at once.  Tan says "if left untreated, it could end up being deadly."

You can get more information on MRSA online.