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North Platte Officer catches infection in drug bust


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  • North Platte Officer catches infection in drug bust


    Officer catches infection in drug bust
    by Frank Graham (North Platte Bulletin) - 9/4/2008

    MRSA has been around forever -- a plague in prisons and jails and common among IV drug users who often share needles, according to jail officials.
    A North Platte police officer has been placed on medical leave after contracting MRSA, a drug resistant staph infection, during a drug bust.

    The officer was involved in a raid on a methamphetamine raid at a trailer house in Key Estates Aug. 12. It was there officers entered the residence and searched the home and discovered the lab.

    The officer also transported one of the suspects, both of whom are suspected to have MRSA, to the Lincoln County Jail.

    Just days after the bust, the officer began to notice symptoms and was diagnosed with MRSA, according to Deputy Chief Jim Agler. The officer was placed on medical leave so other officers would not contract the highly contagious infection.

    “He’s getting better,” Agler said, “and we expect he’ll return to work soon.”

    Agler said the medical leave was just a precaution to be sure other officers weren’t at risk.

    MRSA is transmitted by skin to skin contact usually through an open wound.

    Staphylococcus aureas or Staph aureus or just plain staph is a bacteria found on the skin of everybody. It is also found most anywhere in the environment. Most of the time, this bacteria lives happily on the skin without causing any problems. However, when we get a bug bite, scratch, or anything that breaks the skin, this bacteria may creep in and cause an infection. It also may be inhaled and cause pneumonia although this is rather uncommon in children and healthy adults.

    Staph can multiply on food releasing a toxin that causes vomiting and diarrhea which usually resolves with time. And staph can infect the bloodstream of IV drug abusers who use dirty needles.

    When inmates are booked into the Lincoln County Jail often they bring in something other than their crimes.

    According to LCSO Chief Deputy Dean Sparks, it is a common problem at the jail.

    Sparks said jailers are aware of MRSA and had a solid protocol for spotting and dealing with it.

    Sparks said jailers often spot the infection when dealing with infected inmates. The jail nurse treats affected inmates with antibiotics.

    Sparks said the jailers also regularly disinfected cells and other areas to reduce the possibility of becoming infected.

    “We’ve been lucky,” Sparks said. “I don’t think we’ve had any jailers come down with it in a long time.”

    The North Platte Bulletin - Published 9/4/2008
    Copyright © 2008 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
    Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101
    Some people were just dropped on their heads as children more than the rest of us!

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