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Legal action taken after high school wrestlers contract MRSA from fifthly mat

Parents often have many concerns with regard to a child's school environment. While matters related to academic achievement and bullying often top the list of parent questions and concerns, those related to health and cleanliness are less discussed.

Methicillin-resistant Staphlococcus aureus, or MRSA as it's more commonly known, is a serious staph infection that can be difficult to treat and cure. While most individuals who develop MRSA infections do so after being exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a hospital or nursing home setting, the potentially deadly infection can also be found among populations who live in unsanitary and crowded environments.

Students and parents of a small Long Island community were recently shocked to learn that at least five student wrestlers had been diagnosed with MRSA infections. Shock quickly turned to outrage when it was discovered that the source of the serious infection, a sweat and bacteria-laden wrestling mat that reportedly, hadn't been cleaned for seven years.

While the school's superintendent and wrestling coach attempted to quiet concerns asserting that MRSA is common and easily treated, a visit to the Mayo Clinic's website provides a very different assessment of the threat the infection poses to those it infects.
MRSA is cited as being able to spread to and cause "potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs."

Due to MRSA's resistance to many antibiotics, these infections can be difficult to treat and can result in negative long-term health effects and disability. Parents, who send their children to a public or private school, entrust the school to provide for the health, safety and development of a child. In cases where a child is exposed to conditions that threaten his or her safety and health, it may be appropriate to explore one's legal options.

Source: New York Post, "School sued after staph infection spreads among wrestlers," Selim Algar, Aug. 3, 2015

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