By Jim Melwert
HOLLAND, Pa. (CBS) – Students are back in school at Council Rock South High School, after an outbreak of what district officials say is a superficial skin infection, easily treated with antibiotics.
School district officials say it appears the outbreak of Impetigo is centered on the football team. And freshman Jake Kessler says his friend who plays football, got infected.
“It was on his forehead, he said it was pretty bad.”
Jake says his friend thinks he got it from his helmet.
“They’ve been saying it’s on the equipment and stuff, and that’s how it’s spreading, but they did a lot with the equipment and like bleached the locker room and everything like that.”
Student Bill Procz says, “I found out on Friday, I didn’t know what it was, but it was serious because the weight room was closed for cleaning.”
Procz says he was concerned over the weekend, as rumors about the outbreak spread:
“I saw YouTube and saw that it was bacteria, and that it was, well, scary.”
But he says, when he heard district had sanitized the building, and that it was impetigo, he felt better, and he had no problem going back in the building this morning.
“I was scared, but I Googled it, and I trust them.”
On Monday evening, Superintendent of Schools Mark J. Klein said in a letter to parents: “On Thursday and Friday of last week, we identified 26 cases of suspicious skin rashes or abrasions for further review by family physicians. 25 of those students returned to school today either with no issues or with treatment that allows them to return to school and their athletic team. One student did not yet have a doctor’s appointment. Seven (7) of those cases were confirmed as Impetigo. Despite continued screening, no additional students were found to have suspicious rashes, abrasions, or cuts that warranted referral to a physician.”
In an earlier statement to parents, Klein said, “Council Rock High School South has cleaned and sanitized all football equipment including uniforms, pads, and helmets. The facility was cleaned carefully including showers, locker rooms, and equipment rooms. In addition to our normal cleaning procedures, our cleaning contractor, Aramark, concentrated on surfaces that could harbor bacteria including railings, water fountains, and doorknobs.”
And he says the school will remain vigilant. “Our staff will continue to screen players for suspicious skin rashes and abrasions. As was our practice last week, we will contact parents of athletes who show signs of any skin irritation for follow-up with their physician. Student athletes who are identified for screening will not be permitted to practice or compete without a note from their physician.”
There were rumors over the weekend, the outbreak was the more serious MRSA, but the district says they have no reason to believe any students are at risk of contracting MRSA.