Staph on campus?

A Queens resident student has been diagnosed with the bacteria MRSA, commonly known as Staph but is not contagious, according to a health advisory sent out by the University. The student is currently under the care of a physician, and, according to Rev. James Maher, “[the University] received medical documentation that the student was not contagious, and
recovering.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a Staph infection “may cause skin infections that look like pimples or boils. Skin infections caused by Staph may be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage.”

The CDC also cites that a person can be infected with Staph through skin-to-skin contact, contact with items that may have Staph on them, poor hygiene, crowded living spaces, and open cuts or wounds.

Rev. Maher, however, noted that “as long as there is no skin-to-skin contact” a person cannot be infected.

While the CDC states that most Staph infections are minor, it also notes that “Staph also may cause more serious infections, such as infections of the bloodstream, surgical sites, or pneumonia.”
In its health advisory, the University urged students to follow CDC guidelines in order to prevent infection.

These guidelines include washing hands with soap and water, not sharing personal items such as razors and toothbrushes, washing and bandaging all cuts or wounds, cleaning personal living spaces with cleaning solutions, and visiting a physician if showing signs of a possible skin infection.
Although one of the guidelines includes seeking medical attention for a possible skin infection, Rev. Maher
noted that “a person may not know what they have,” but that there is now a “heightened awareness” among students.

Rev. Maher also urged students to “be vigilant about hygiene, living space, and ourselves.”

The CDC states that a Staph infection can be treated by antibiotics or having
the infection drained, although, according to Rev. Maher, “it’s a popular idea that
it [Staph] is antibody resistant.”

In an effort to make the campus
cleaner, St. John’s Public Safety has placed hand sanitizer dispensers in various locations around campus.

“We’ve done everything above and beyond what is recommended in terms
of cleanliness,” Rev. Maher said.

Some students, however, feel that the campus still is not clean enough.

“There’s never any soap or paper towels in the bathrooms, or there’s
either one or the other,” said junior
Sheena Sovell. “They should take better care of the bathrooms if they want
to really prevent Staph and keep things clean.”

Other students had mixed reactions when learning one of their fellow students was infected with Staph,
and on the placing of hand sanitizers around campus.

“Anything relating to diseases and college is scary,” said senior Geoffrey Benavides. “If the school was able
to prevent it before anything big
happened, then they did a great job.”
Senior Arazelly Guevara said, “I’m still scared, very. I don’t think hand sanitizers are enough.”

She added, “I don’t think St. John’s is responsible. How many times have they failed food inspections? If it
wasn’t for the Staph virus, those hand sanitizers wouldn’t be there.”

But as sophomore Elizabeth Kurain noted, “The Purell is good. I guess
that’s the best they can do. What more can they do?”