October 16-All 21 school buildings in Bedford County, Va., were being scrubbed and sanitized Wednesday after the death Monday of a 17-year-old high school student from a powerful drug-resistant strain of staph bacteria.
The schools, all in Bedford County, Va., were closed after students there launched a protest over unsanitary conditions Monday, using text messages and social networking sites.
The students took Bedford County Schools Superintendent James Blevins on a tour Tuesday of Staunton River High School to show him how unclean it was, in particular the sports locker rooms. One of its students, Ashton Bonds, died Monday after being hospitalized for more than a week from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a strain of staph bacteria that does not respond to penicillin and related antibiotics. Blevins subsequently ordered the schools closed for cleaning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Bond's death is not an isolated incident and that MRSA infections, are a major public health problem, more widespread than previously thought.
This was underscored in a stunning new report by CDC researchers, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that says MRSA infections could ultimately kill more people annually than AIDS. The report says the deadly strain killed nearly 19,000 Americans in 2005, and suggests that such infections may be twice as common as previously thought, according to its lead author, Dr. R. Monina Klevens.
In recent years, so-called superbug staph infections have been spreading wildly through schools, hospitals, prisons and athletic facilities, according to CDC officials. In fact, more than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year from MRSA. The bacteria is often carried on the skin and in the noses of healthy people and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or sharing an item used by an infected person, particularly one with an open wound.
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