October 19, 2007
The exact number of cases of MRSA is unknown because it is not a disease that must be reported to state health authorities but Governor Kaine is hoping to change that.
MRSA is the potentially fatal staph infection that claimed the life of a 17-year-old Bedford County student.
Kevin Hall, the governor's press secretary, said mandatory reporting of MRSA cases to the Virginia Department of Health will be "a priority item" in Kaine's 2008 legislative package.
"It's such an important public health issue, this whole concept of environmental hygiene, and since we're seeing higher than expected occurrences, it makes good public policy sense to have cases reported to state public health authorities," Hall said.
According to health officials, the best safeguards against MRSA are frequent and thorough hand-washing and proper treatment and dressing of open wounds. They also caution against sharing personal
items, such as towels and razors.