Local News

Raleigh dance company closes after MRSA infection

Posted February 24, 2010 10:36 p.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2010 7:07 a.m. EST

— A Raleigh dance company was temporarily closed Wednesday after an athlete tested positive for MRSA, or methycillin-resistant staphylococcus aurea. MRSA is a strain of bacteria resistant to most antibiotics. It can cause serious and costly infections in the blood stream.

Michelle Haswell, owner of Elite Cheer and Dance, 3511 Maitland Drive, said a boy, whose name was not released, tested positive for MRSA in his knee. Since the bacteria can spread rapidly, the facility was immediately shut down.

“It is spread person-to-person, usually with close contact,” said Robin Carver, WakeMed's director of infection control.

Carver said people often carry the MRSA bacteria on their skin, and it's usually not a problem with proper hygiene.

“Normally, we have this transient bacteria that we pick up all the time. That's why we wash our hands frequently, because if our skin is intact, we pick up the germs. We wash our hands, and we get rid of them, and they don't affect us,” Carver said.

The athlete was recovering Wednesday evening, and no other cases of MRSA had been reported at Elite Cheer and Dance, Haswell said.

The dance company is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the gym before allowing anyone back in the building.

Haswell said the cleaning and disinfecting process should wrap up Thursday afternoon. She hopes to reopen the facility Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 100,000 people develop infections from MRSA every year. Approximately 19,000 die as a result. More than 85 percent of the infections are associated with time spent in health-care facilities.