Two Rocky Point High School students have been diagnosed with the bacterial infection known as MRSA, prompting an alert to parents about the infection, as well as about common preventive practices.
The "two cases appear to be isolated and are sports-related involving two players on one team who regularly practice together," said a letter Sunday on the district's site from schools Superintendent Michael F. Ring.
Citing privacy laws, a school spokeswoman said Monday the district would not release further information about the health status of the students.
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, the letter said.
Also, the condition "is treatable with strong broad-spectrum antibiotics," but, "if left untreated, it may result in severe illness that requires hospitalization."
While the "situation is a concern to all of us," the district is taking "supplemental and extensive disinfecting measures" in addition to regular cleaning, Ring said.
If a staph infection is suspected, he said, parents are advised to contact their doctors and take their children in for testing. To help the district track cases, parents also are asked to report confirmed diagnoses to the school's nurse.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA may "appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that might be red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, full of pus or other drainage, accompanied by fever."
Precautions students and family members can take include washing hands frequently with soap and warm water; avoiding touching an MRSA wound; keeping cuts clean and bandaged; and avoiding sharing personal items that come in direct bodily contact, such as razors, soap and towels.