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District: Babylon student athlete has MRSA

A Babylon Senior High School athlete who was diagnosed with the bacterial infection MRSA is being treated with antibiotics and is at home and doing well, according to a notice posted Tuesday on the district's website and an email sent to parents.

The email from Superintendent Richard S. Rozakis said the district on Friday learned of the student's diagnosis with the potentially life-threatening infection. The school declined to identify the student or the sport he or she plays.

The district initially posted a message on its website Friday about the student's diagnosis. The notice stated, "It is not possible to determine exactly where the staph infection was contracted." In both website notices, the district urged parents, students and faculty to be aware of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Such measures include frequent hand washing.

Health officials say the simplest way to prevent transmission of MRSA is to use good personal hygiene, including proper hand washing and care of skin injuries and infections, andnot sharing personal items such as razors, headgear and towels.

No other students in the district have been diagnosed with the infection, school officials said Tuesday. "The district continues to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of this staph infection, including thoroughly cleaning the locker rooms, gyms, and restrooms with a disinfectant that is effective in eliminating MRSA," the notice read.

In the past year, Long Island schools have intensified efforts to educate coaches, athletes and parents 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 in February 2011, returned to wrestling in the 2011-12 school year.

A senior, he went on to be Suffolk County champion and garnered All-State honors.

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