3 students at Fairfield, Connecticut high school contract MRSA

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (WABC) -- Three student-athletes at Fairfield Ludlowe High School in Connecticut have reported cases of MRSA.

Classmates and parents are now being alerted. The school has 1,500 students.

The first case was reported Oct. 6th, and the most recent last Friday, but school administrators and health officials stress that the risk of this spreading to the student population is very low.

School headmaster Greg C. Hatzis says a note was sent to parents informing them of the cases, which read in part:

"A small number of student-athletes have reported to us that they are being treated for symptoms related to MRSA (which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a form of staph bacteria). We have informed the teammates and families, but as some parents have raised questions, we thought it was important to share some general information with all families."

The locker rooms at the school have been disinfected, uniforms washed, and informational posters have been hung in the locker rooms.

School officials have also met with athletes, reminding them about good hygiene and not sharing items like towels or razors.

Parents are being told to look out for swollen red bumps, or boils resembling a spider bite.

"The risk to the general student population is very small," said Sands Cleary of the Fairfield Health Department. "And even the risk to teammates, as long as they are educated on how to care for their wound, to keep the wound covered and dry, there's very little risk even to teammates."

There have been no new cases this week, and the three affected students have been treated by doctors and cleared to return to all activities.

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ABC's Dr. Richard Besser is answering questions about MRSA.

MRSA is a bacteria that causes a skin irritation - generally a red, swollen, and painful bump on the skin similar in appearance to a spider bite. Left untreated, the infection could cause major health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control, MRSA is only spread, "from contact with an infected wound or by sharing personal items, such as towels or razors, that have touched infected skin."
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