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Rocky Point High School now has 5 MRSA cases, district superintendent says

Rocky Point High School is shown in a

Rocky Point High School is shown in a file photo taken on Dec. 29, 2014. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The number of confirmed student cases of the bacterial infection known as MRSA at Rocky Point High School is now up to five, Superintendent Michael F. Ring said Wednesday in a message on the district's website.

"This case is believed to have resulted from an ongoing medical condition affecting the student in question," Ring said. "Although the student in question participates on the same sports team as the previous cases, the student has not participated in sports for more than a month."

The district Friday announced a fourth student had been diagnosed with MRSA, and that the student participated in the same sport as three others whose cases were reported in December and earlier last week. The fourth case was "not believed to be sports- or school-related as it resulted from an accident that occurred off of school property over a month ago," Ring said. "During this period of time, while the student was recovering, there was no participation in sports."

A source said last week the initial three cases involved members of the varsity wrestling team.

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a staph infection that is resistant to some common antibiotics. It can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact or through contact with wound drainage, but not by air, Ring said in a message last month.

He said Wednesday that after learning of the fifth case, "we once again notified the Suffolk County Department of Health, which, in turn, has reviewed it with the New York State Department of Health. The district has already implemented all protocols recommended by these two departments."

The superintendent emphasized that "these notifications are not meant to cause alarm, but rather to keep the community informed and to raise awareness in order to assist the district in identifying and reporting any other potential cases."

Suffolk County reported the cases to state health officials, according to the county website.

In messages to the school community, Ring said the infection "is quite common and it is possible that more cases will be identified."

Though most of these infections "aren't serious," he said, "the fact that some may become quite serious is why we will continue to act with diligence in addressing this matter."

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