Nashville Girl Dies Of Staph Infection

Every now and then, we hear of health concerns in schools.  I am sure you still remember the salmonella scare in tomatoes, and more recently, in peanut butter.  It is a good thing that not many school children were seriously affected by those incidents.  In the case of Kristen Hunter, however, she acquired something else – staph infection.

Kristen was 11.  She was already suffering from pneumonia when it was discovered that she had contracted MSRA.  This stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and it can be fatal.  The Mayo Clinic provides this information on MSRA:

Staph skin infections, including MRSA, generally start as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also penetrate into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.

Some MSRA cases can affect otherwise healthy people, while other cases will only affect those who already have a weakened immune system.  In Kristen’s case, doctors from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital have declared that it belongs to the second group.  This means that the majority of the children in the school Kristen attended are not at risk.

Still, parents are quite alarmed at the situation and the authorities have done all that is necessary to prevent further infection.  They have cleaned the classroom thoroughly.  According to a statement released by the school:

When we were first notified about having a MRSA infection, we cleaned the school and sent a letter home to parents. In our conversation with Vanderbilt doctors they informed us her type of infection wasn’t a risk to otherwise healthy students. The school is safe. Parents should not be concerned about their children’s safety at school. We’ve used procedures recommended by the Center for Disease Control for cleaning. Our thoughts and prayers from all of Sumner County are with the family.

They have also issued reminders to parents and school children to wash their hands often, using soap or sanitizer.  Objects should also be cleaned before use.

Kristen passed away over the weekend, and the flag flew half staff at North Sumner Elementary School today.  For those who have been left behind, her death is a stark reminder that safety in our schools includes health considerations.  It is our duty to ensure that children stay healthy while getting an education.

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