by Victor Lopez
SEMINOLE--The Seminole Indeipendent School District is taking every precaution they can after 11 members of the high school girls volleyball team came down with a staph infection.
This is the first report of any type of staph infections in the area since late last year, when an epidemic of MRSA swept the country, with a few cases right here in the Permian Basin.
School officials in Seminole say they are taking as proactive an approach as possible to deal with the situation, especially with the first day of school, just one week away.
Superintendent Doug Harriman says, "It's something, people don't need to be afraid of. They just need to be taking precaution of it. It's very easy to contact it."
Members of the Seminole Maiden volleyball team showed up for practice on Monday, as usual. Superintendent Harriman says they aren't taking any chances. They want to nip this thing in the bud before it gets out of hand, "We feel like that we're aware of it. If a child does have anything that does look remotely like staph, they are sent to the doctor and they have to be put on antibiotics before they can participate and continue on with the program."
Of the 11 girls that contracted the staph infection, only one is serious enough to keep her in the hospital, where she underwent knee surgery to clean out the infection. The other 10 were given antibiotics and are expected to recover completely in a couple of days.
According to school officials, some of the girls had gone out of state over the summer for a church camp. It was on that trip, that one of them contracted the infection and brought it home
Harriman says they have taken every precaution possible, from disinfecting the gym and "all" the locker rooms, to replacing equipment, "We are disinfecting the areas where the kids are on a day to day basis. Knee pads, we've discarded all the knee pads and ordered new ones."
Parents of the students as well as teams they've played or will play in the future, have also been notified and told what to look for.
As for the effect on the volleyball season, "The little girl that was in the hospital, she will have an abbreviated season, no doubt. So yeah, there's an effect," Harriman commented.
The superintendent says the main emphasis is educating the students on the importance of cleanliness in all areas, including sharing equipment and towels, even washing their workout and game uniforms on a daily basis and of course, lots of hand washing with plenty of soap and water to keep the bacteria from spreading.