Staff Infection News Videos – School districts in six states Thursday reported students infected with the staff infection MRSA, a super strain of drug-resistant staphylococcus bacteria that is responsible for the deaths of at least three children.

CBS News On Killer Staff Disease

Three deaths attributed to “Super Bug” staph disease outbreaks:

Ashton Bonds, 17, of Bedford, Va., died Monday as a result of a staff infection. Preschooler Catherine Bentley of Salisbury, N.H., and Shae Kiernan, 11, of Vancleave, Miss., both succumbed to the infection last week, officials said.

Staph Super Bug MRSA

In addition, six football players at a North Carolina high school, seven students at three different West Virginia schools and at least two teens in Connecticut were diagnosed with the potentially deadly staff infection.

Reuters News Report On MRSA Virus

A form of staph infection is making its way out of the hospital and to the public at a much higher rate than expected. MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs, and open wounds or surgical sites.

Schools in upstate New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire sent letters home to parents informing them of recent staff virus cases. Meanwhile, cases have prompted schools in Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia to sanitize facilities, particularly locker rooms and gyms where the staph virus is most easily spread.

Staff infection picture

The concern is due to the fact that MRSA doesn’t respond to penicillin and other antibiotics. It can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or by sharing an item used by an infected person, particularly one with a cut or abrasion. A number of the cases have involved student athletes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that MRSA infections are a major public health problem and more widespread than previously thought.

CDC Reports Staff Infections Spreading Rapidly

The CDC says that every year more than 90,000 people contract MRSA, a drug-resistant staph infection.

This was underscored in a stunning report released by the CDC that says MRSA infections ultimately could kill more people annually than AIDS. The report says the deadly strain killed nearly 19,000 Americans in 2005 and suggests such infections may be much more common than previously thought.

In recent years, so-called superbug staph infections have been spreading through schools, hospitals, prisons and athletic facilities, CDC officials said.

The bacteria often is carried on the skin and in the noses of healthy people and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or sharing an item used by an infected person, particularly one with an open wound.

“Essentially, what has happened here is that MRSA was, at one time, pretty much confined to patients in hospitals, and these were patients that were seriously ill,” said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, the former commissioner of public health for New York City. “Now we know there’s also a community-acquired strain of MRSA. That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t always existed. It’s just that now, we have become knowledgeable about it.”

The MRSA strain of the staff virus is believed to have evolved through several biological mechanisms, including the overuse of antibiotics.

And that’s the latest on the staff infection scare.