More MRSA cases surfacing

SPRING GARDEN - October 3, 2008 - Within the past two weeks, students in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Northampton Counties have contracted the infection.

One student has died.

Over the past few years there's been a jump in the number of MRSA cases caught in the community.

Lower Merion High School also reports a student there, another a football player, recently got infected.

"I was just scared because I don't know who has it and who doesn't and I don't know what to do," said Jasmine Payton, Central High School Senior.

Students and Central High School say word spread quickly that a fellow classmate has been infected with MRSA.

It's the same infection that killed 17-year-old Saalen Jones last week.

He was a football player at Martin Luther King High School.

Both Lower Merion and Philadephia school district officials have sent letters home to parents. The message: There's no need to panic because, in most cases, MRSA is treatable.

"99 times out of a 100 it isn't going to be fatal," said Nancy Erskine, the Director of School Health Services for the Philadelphia School District. "It is something that can be treated early."

The letters also stress prevention as the best way to protect yourself. For example, practice good hygiene including frequent handwashing, cover open cuts and scrapes and don't share personal items like razors or towels.

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