MRSA infection found in New York firefighters

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Nine probationary New York City Fire Department firefighters are on light duty and being treated for possible MRSA infection, the department confirms.

They are members of a current class of 321 and have symptoms of the bacterial infection. It was first detected last week when possible symptoms were detected.

"We take this issue very seriously and we are acting aggressively to combat this problem by increasing our schedule of cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and equipment and educating our Instructors and Probies at the Fire Academy about how to prevent open wounds and the spread of MRSA," said Frank Dwyer, a FDNY spokesperson, in a statement.

They have been treated and the FDNY does not know how many may actually have MRSA.

"Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that's become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections," according to the Mayo Clinic website.

No one is currently in the hospital, and an FDNY spokesperson did not know if anyone had been treated for MRSA at a hospital.

The cause of the possible infections is under investigation. An official noted that MRSA is spread through open wounds.

The FDNY is providing educational materials and is cleaning affected gear to combat spread of the bacteria.

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