OREGON COUNTY -- As of Nov. 1, Oregon County Health Department Administrator Shelia Russell said two cases of community-acquired (CA-MRSA) have been reported in Oregon County.
"This is not unusual. We see these cases every year and this strain of staph is treatable. It is a different strain of what people are calling the superbug. It usually infects younger people and most often is boils and soft tissue infections," she said.
Russell said this is a lot different than the superbug that has caused concern around the country, but residents in the Oregon County area need to be aware how serious the other strain of staph is.
"This is a germ, which is resistant to some antibiotics and has been in the national spotlight following the death of a Virginia teenager," Russell said. She said a report released recently by the government said the infection kills about 19,000 Americans a year and sickens more than 90,000.
Several schools in neighboring counties have reported students with the infection, called methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
Russell said Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt said last week that he has directed the Department of Health and Senior Services to increase its efforts to spread information about prevention, detection and treatment of the staph strain.
Russell said people should not panic, but caution is advised.
"Some of the precautions against getting the staph infection are regular hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer and showering immediately after exercising," Russell said.
She said some added tips include placing bandages over cuts, not sharing towels, razors or other personal items that come into contact with skin and regularly cleaning surfaces that come into contact with the skin.
Russell said by law doctors who see patients in their office who have MRSA are required to report the case to the health department in the county it occurred.
She said for more information about the disease go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov/Features/MRSAinSchools.