Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes issued a message to residents today urging individuals in the County to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) bacteria. Recent concerns about proliferation of staphylococcus infections have prompted increased efforts to raise awareness about staph prevention in the community.

"Staph is a very common bacterium, and it's important to understand that in most cases staph infections are easy to treat," Hughes explained. "But some strains of Staph, such as MRSA, require more extensive antibiotic therapy, so it's far preferable that residents take simple measures to protect themselves."

MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and generally causes boils or abscesses on the skin of individuals who develop infections from contact with the bacteria. Contact with staph-contaminated surfaces does not always result in infection. Even for individuals who are particularly sensitive to staph, simple hygiene procedures-such as wearing sandals when using communal showers, washing hands regularly with antibacterial soap, and not sharing towels or clothing with other individuals-can help to reduce the risk of infection.

If you notice atypical lesions such as abscesses or boils on your skin, see a doctor immediately. Staph infections can generally be treated with oral antibiotics, though resistant strains may require a short course of intravenous antibiotics.

"The bottom line here is that awareness is a powerful weapon in preventing staph infections of all types, including MRSA," said the County Executive. "Be aware of changes in your health; practice good hygiene at all times; and see your doctor immediately if you have concerns."

For more information about preventing Staph infections, visit the Center for Disease Control's website at www.cdc.gov, or contact your local health department.