by Briesny T '09

Attenton STAPH!

Attention Students, Teachers, and STAPH!  No, I did not misspell “staff.”  Actually, “staph” is short for Staphylococcus.  Staphylococcus includes thirty-one species.  Although most are not too harmful, some are.  Some can be poisonous, while others can cause death or infectiois diseases.  Lately, there have been cases of Staph attacking schools nationwide.  Be it as unlikely as it may, it could happen here.  Therefore, one should be informed.
We all know that germs are all around us, and as clean as we are there is no escaping the bacteria.  The bright side is that most of the bacteria we come across is not harmful.  Still, staph can grow and turn into a toxin.  For instance, food poisoning.  Staphylococcus has the ability to grow on food with low water activity, such as cheese.  If such foods are stored improperly they can become toxic to a person eating them.  However, these infections can be cured using the appropriate antibiotics and sometimes just letting the symptoms pass.
Major issues only occur when we come in contact with the harmful strains of bacteria.  MRSA is an extremely harmful strain of bacteria.  Only a couple of Staphylococcus species are included in the MRSA category, though.  MRSA is an acronym for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  MRSA has recently become a big issue.  It has resulted in more than just a couple of hospitalizations and deaths nation wide.  One case even broke out in my old county in Miami.  And it continues to spread across the country.
Two high schools in Dade county, South Miami Senior High School and Palmetto High School, were affected by MRSA, luckily there were no deaths.  Unfortunately that is not always the case, and it is going on in schools in Maryland, Illinios, and Georgia to schools right here in New York or Washington state.  In Virginia a senior died, just last October,  as a result of MRSA.
The really scary part about this is how it can be contracted.  Staphylococous is able to live on dry surfaces, therefore just coming in contact with something infected with the bacteria can have terrible results.  The only thing that can be done is trying to stay as clean as possible.  This means staying away from generally infected places, such as the trash, and keeping your hands clean.  Also being well-informed will help you avoid a major Staphylococous infection!


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