Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

State Schools Chief Urges Parents, Schools to Help Prevent Staph Outbreaks

The State Schools Chief is asking parents and schools to help prevent outbreaks of a drug-resistant staph infection that in rare cases can be fatal. The move comes after several cases were reported at

State Schools Chief Urges Parents, Schools to Help Prevent Staph Outbreaks

The State Schools Chief is asking parents and schools to help prevent outbreaks of a drug-resistant staph infection that in rare cases can be fatal. The move comes after several cases were reported at schools in Yuba City, Natomas and Rocklin - as well as across the country. From Sacramento Marianne Russ reports. 

State Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell says the evidence is anecdotal - so he can't say how many cases of the drug-resistant bug known as MRSA there are in California. But he figures the heightened awareness is causing more people to report it. That's why O'Connell showed up at Sutter Middle School in Sacramento to talk about prevention:

O’Connell: Don't share personal items with any other students-any other people - personal items such as towels, or washcloths, or clothing. 

He says frequent hand-washing is essential -- and athletes should shower after working out or playing sports. O'Connell says schools should also sanitize desks and locker rooms often, as the bug can live on such surfaces.

Koons: Kind of made me a little nervous.

Seventh-grader Brandon Koons was in the audience for O'Connell's press conference. He says he got the message:

Koons: I didn't know that you could get infections like that. - Just makes me want to be on the lookout for diseases like that and wash my hands with soap and water and stuff like that.

The state's epidemiologist says when caught early, MRSA is very treatable. He says staph infections are actually very common - and even the resistant strains do respond to some drugs.