CHARLEROI — The Charleroi Area High School football locker room received a deep cleaning two nights in a row after three varsity players were found to have a rash on their skin.
All of the team members were sent home from practice Tuesday afternoon and the locker room received the first of the cleanings with disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to district officials. District Superintendent Dr. Ed Zelich said medical testing was done, but lab results weren’t back as of Wednesday afternoon to positively identify the rash.
“As a precaution we canceled practice and sent them all home,” Zelich said.
Letters were also sent home with all of the high school students, and a copy of the letter was posted on the district’s web site.
While Zelich said he could not confirm whether the rash is MRSA, he could rule out scabies.
“There were rumors out there about another type of skin disease, scabies. Scabies in an infestation. This is not an infestation, it is an infection,” Zelich said. “There is a big difference between a skin infection and a skin infestation.”
Zelich said the district took immediate steps to thwart any further spread of infection by cleaning the locker room and any equipment the players may have come into contact with.
“We had 16 custodians and cleaning people cleaning last night,” Zelich said Wednesday afternoon. “I was here personally until 10 p.m. and other people were here way later.”
Zelich said a similar cleaning job was scheduled for Wednesday night as an extra layer of precaution, with the football players directed to remove all of their personal belongings from the locker room prior to the cleaning.
“Anything left will be thrown out,” Zelich said.
Zelich said the event is being treated as an educational opportunity.
“Today immediately after school we’re going to have a meeting about the importance of cleanliness and not sharing towels and things like that,” Zelich said.
Zelich said that since the football locker room is at the football field and separate from the high school, physical education classes were not disrupted by the event and the infection seems to have been contained.
“A number of students had concerns. Of all the kids who saw the nurse today, none were diagnosed with any problem,” Zelich said.
Zelich said the district will continue to take precautions and urge the parents of any student with a suspected skin infection to immediately seek medical attention.