School goes 'overkill' to fight highly contagious skin infection

Student-athletes are back on the field in Medfield after they were sidelined with a highly contagious skin infection last week.

More than 20 football and soccer players contracted Impetigo, a skin rash the American Academy of Dermatology characterizes as extremely contagious. Fortunately, however, it’s not considered extremely dangerous.

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But the school took extensive precautions to stem any further spread of the infection.

The new school year begins Wednesday in Medfield and parent Lisa Thompson said she only found out about the spreading infection from another parent.

“Because she found out that her son had it. So she immediately texted all the Moms of the kids who were with her son,” Thompson explained.

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The Impetigo infection is caused by Staph or Strep bacteria and involves symptoms that include itchy sores, which burst open and crust over.

That’s when the infection spreads.

Thompson said she was initially concerned, but then spoke with a doctor.

“The doctor said…it's kind of the same thing as Strep Throat, but it's just on your skin,” said Thompson.

Impetigo is most common among young children, but it’s also common in athletes – especially those who play sports in which skin to skin contact is possible.

Medfield realized it had a problem when the number of impetigo cases topped 20 last week.

Medfield’s superintendent, Jeffery Marsden, told Boston 25 News they notified the health department and affected students were prescribed antibiotics.

Marsden said they disinfected the locker rooms, disinfected the equipment and, in what he suggests was overkill, they even disinfected the field.

Parents, however, said overkill for a highly contagious infection is just fine.

“They took a lot of precautions -- we probably did more than we needed to -- but better safe than sorry,” said Thompson.

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