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More staph infections showing up at daycare centers

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - May 11, 2011 at 6:42 p.m.



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DRAPER -- Staph bacteria has become so common, health officials say it shows up everywhere -- including daycares.

The health department and area hospitals aren't reporting spikes in MRSA, or what's also known as staph. But a Utah daycare provider says what happened to her is just a good reminder for parents to be extra vigilant with hygiene.

Connie Talbot runs a daycare out of her home and says she considers herself a clean freak.

What is... MRSA?
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that do not respond to some of the antibiotics used to treat staph infections. Staph can cause infection when they enter the body. The infection can be minor and local (for example, a pimple), or more serious (involving the heart, lung, blood, or bone).

"I do everything to be clean," she said. "I owned a restaurant for a while, so I have a food handler's permit and know how to keep infections from being caught or spread."

So when one of her kids showed up to her daycare with strange looking sores, she knew it wasn't normal.

Talbot recounted the conversation she had with the child's mother. "I said, ‘What does he have? It looks like chicken pox. He shouldn't be here.' She says, ‘Oh, the doctor says he has a yeast infection.'"

Talbot then suggested the parent get a second opinion. It turns out the child had a staph infection.

Talbot immediately notified parents of the other children in her daycare as well as local health departments.

Cyndi Beamis with the Utah Department of Health says MRSA can be a dangerous bug, mainly because it's resistant to medication.

"MRSA is always out there," she said. "It's a staph bug that is present on people's skin, and it's easily transmittable to another person, especially someone with an open sore in their skin."


MRSA is carried by about 1% of the U.S. population, although most of them aren't infected.

Health officials say staph bacteria can be found anywhere. In fact, it's so common they don't even track the number of cases reported.

That's why staph is not on the list of required communicable diseases that places like daycare centers are required to report. Some of the illnesses on the list:

  • Hepatitis
  • Measles
  • Influenza
  • Chicken Pox

Health officials recommend that if a child at a daycare center contracts a staph infection, providers should isolate the infected child, notify parents and post a notice on the door. Many recommend reporting the infection to local health departments.

Talbot now warns parents to be more vigilant with their children's health and hygiene.

"Any time there's a runny nose, a fever or any rash that you're not sure of, please don't bring them to the daycare centers," she said.

According to law, Talbot's daycare followed all the proper procedures. It seems like it was an isolated incident, but she mainly wanted to tell parents that what may seem like a normal rash or sore may be something worse.

And remember, keep your sick or infected kids at home so they don't infect other kids.

Email: niyamba@ksl.com

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Nkoyo Iyamba

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