campus health alert

State Residents, College Community Alerted to Take Precautions Against Staph Infections

October 25, 2007 — Recently the state of New Hampshire has seen an increase in the incidence of skin infections caused by Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph). State health officials have urged residents NOT to become alarmed by these treatable illnesses, but rather, to take preventive actions such as frequent hand-washing to avoid the spread of infection in their communities.

Some of these staph infections are resistant to antibiotic treatments. These types of infections are known under the name of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).

Staph bacteria are commonly found on human skin in places such as inside the nose, in the armpit, groin and genital areas. When bacteria are found on the skin but do not cause an illness, it is called “colonization.” When the bacteria do cause an illness, the person is said to be “infected” with staph.

Several cases of staph infections, including two MRSA infections, have been diagnosed on campus and are being treated and followed very closely. The MRSA infections are unrelated to each other and the infections were brought from home rather than incurred on campus.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, numerous cases of MRSA have been reported in the state. The health department has urged residents not to become alarmed about MRSA, which is NOT highly contagious when properly managed and is TREATABLE with alternative antibiotics.

Please see the links below for more information about staph infections:

Experts recommend hand-washing as one of the best preventive measures in the spread of staph infections and many other illnesses – an important reminder with the flu season nearly upon us.

The best methods to prevent staph infections include all of the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean with soap and water
  • When working out and using sports equipment, be sure to cover any cuts or open sores and shower after your workouts
  • Avoid skin contact and sharing personal items with anyone you suspect could have a MRSA skin infection
  • Do not share personal items such as razors, lotions, soap, towels, drinks, etc.
  • Report any pimple, rash, boil or an open wound that is not healing, is painful or draining

Hand sanitizers have been placed throughout the campus, especially in locations with community computers. The college's housekeeping staff has been asked to step up disinfection procedures in classrooms, restrooms and other campus areas frequented by students, faculty and staff. Similarly, Dining Services has been consulted and the staff members continue to take additional steps in their cleaning procedures to reduce health risks.

For more information, please contact Baird Health & Counseling Center at (603) 526-3621.