Three or four Mesa students have developed the “superbug” staph infection known as MRSA this semester, Mesa Unified School District officials said Saturday.
However, health services director Nadine Miller said she could not give an official tally because the district does not collect MRSA data from its 87 schools. She said nurses at individual schools likely track the infection, but Maricopa County health officials do not require the district to report the information to the public.
“MRSA is not a reportable disease to the county,” Miller said.
Her comments came one day after she told the Tribune that she would not discuss the number of cases in the Mesa district.
District spokeswoman Kathy Bareiss said schools have sent letters to parents when cases were discovered. She also said the district posted information about MRSA on its Web site in mid-October.
“We’re being proactive about this,” she said. “We’re trying to educate people and not scare them.”
The district serves more than 73,000 students, and Bareiss said parents should not get the idea that MRSA is widespread in the district.
“We haven’t found it to be a huge problem,” Bareiss said.
Other East Valley school districts have collected data about MRSA and reported district totals.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the infection killed about 18,650 people nationwide in 2005. It can spread by skin-to-skin contact, shared items or contaminated surfaces.