On Monday officials confirmed that two on-campus students at the University of Florida have been diagnosed with MRSA.
Both of the students live in the same dorm, Beaty Towers. The apartment-style dorms house 786 students, predominantly freshmen and sophomores.
UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said the first student, who resides in Beaty East, was diagnosed on September 14. Students in the residence hall were alerted through an email from housing director Lisa Diekow of the staph infection on September 15. The second case was a Beaty West resident. The second case also prompted a similar email to alert other residents.
University officials say they are working with the Alachua County Health Department and the student healthcare center to learn where the two cases originated from.
The emails sent out to students shared preventative tips, such as frequent hand-washing since the staph infection is often spread through hand contact. The emails also advised students to cover any cuts with a bandage and avoid sharing things like razors and towels.
Diekow wrote in the email that housing staff “thoroughly cleaned all common classroom and bathroom areas; the Beaty Stairwells; the resident’s apartment; and other areas where this type of infection might spread such as bathrooms, kitchens and common areas.” She also noted that the staff used disinfectant cleaner that kills pathogens including MRSA.
Students were urged to notify family and friends to let them know of the case as well.
MRSA- methicillinâresistant Staphylococcus aureus- doesn’t respond to antibiotics that are used to treat a common staph infection. It is most commonly spread through touching, the staph germ then enters the body and spreads throughout it.
Those with MRSA skin infections develop painful, swollen areas on the skin that look like boils or blisters. Severe cases can result in chest pain, fatigue, fever and even death. If the infection stays in the skin health care providers can drain the infection to treat it.
People with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to contract the infection, but healthy people can contract MRSA as well. Athletes who share towels can spread the infection.