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Syosset High student diagnosed with MRSA

A student at Syosset High School has been diagnosed with MRSA, school district officials said, almost two weeks after a Lynbrook High School wrestler was identified as having the potentially life-threatening bacterial infection.

In a letter to parents and guardians dated Monday, Syosset Principal Giovanni Durante wrote that a student had been recently diagnosed with MRSA -- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- but said the district is "working closely" with the Nassau County Health Department to "minimize any risk to students and to school employees."

He reassured parents that other students have not been shown to be at risk.

Schools are not required to report a single MRSA case to the health department, health department spokeswoman Carolyn McCummings told Newsday last week.

In the letter, Durante said it was "important that all families and staff be provided with the same information about the infection and about actions that can be taken" to prevent transmission. Details about the student were not provided in the letter.

Health officials stress that the simplest way to prevent transmission of the MRSA bacteria is to use "good personal hygiene," including proper hand washing, proper care of skin injuries and infections, and by avoiding sharing personal items -- such as razors, headgear and towels.

On Jan. 17, the health department said the Lynbrook school district followed all the proper protocols after a high school wrestler was identified as having MRSA.

That case was reported Jan. 12, and athletic director Tom Graham, in a letter to parents, said it was unclear where that wrestler was infected -- but said the school would immediately close the wrestling room and locker room for what he called "extensive cleaning."

In the past year, Long Island schools have intensified their efforts to educate coaches, parents and athletes about preventing the spread of infectious skin diseases after Hauppauge High School wrestler Nick Mauriello Jr. contracted a near-fatal case of MRSA and Lemierre's syndrome, a rare life-threatening infection.

Mauriello, who spent 19 days in the hospital last February, is back wrestling this year.

Last spring, state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) drafted legislation that would mandate that schools holding wrestling tournaments have working showers and that mats would be disinfected after every practice or competition. The state would reimburse schools the cost of disinfecting. The bill will be reintroduced to the Assembly this year.


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