2 reported skin infections at Highlands High in 2 weeks

First confirmed as MRSA; district does not think cases are linked

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SAN ANTONIO – Two athletes at Highlands High School have been reported as having skin infections in the past two weeks, with the first being confirmed as a case of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The school released a letter to parents of athletes on Sept. 17 regarding the first skin infection case, though the letter did not specifically mention MRSA. After the school learned about a second skin infection case on Thursday, a letter was sent home to all parents.

San Antonio Independent School District spokeswoman Leslie Price said the most recent case has not been confirmed as MRSA.

Price said the symptoms of the first student's infection began in late August. 

MRSA is caused by staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics used for normal staph infection treatments, according to the Mayo Clinic. Outside of hospitals and other medical settings, it's passed by skin-to-skin contact.

It is not clear what the source was of either infection, but Price said the district does not believe the cases are linked. By the time officials learned about it, the infection was past the contagious stage, she said.

"Because of the timing and the contagious periods, and even though that first letter was sent Sept. 17, that was well past the contagious period timing," Price said.

Following the first case, Price said the school cleaned and disinfected athletic facilities, the cafeteria, common areas and certain classrooms where the student would have been.

After the second incident, she said the whole school was cleaned.

"This is athletes and so we focus on athletic facilities, but we've also been cleaning thoroughly the entire school," Price said Friday. "Yesterday, they went through classrooms and the athletic facilities and other areas, and they're going to do that again on the weekend."

Price said this isn't a situation people need to be scared of, though she said they should be watchful.

To avoid any other infections, the school is recommending students take precautions, such as washing their hands and not sharing personal items, such as towels, soap and clothing.

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