CLUB SCRUBS DOWN AFTER INFECTIONS

nrr-oars1Rowers cleaning oars after an event in 2010. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s Navesink River Rowing club closed for a one-day scrubdown Sunday after officials learned that two young members were diagnosed with a common, antibiotic-resistant infection.

Though there was no evidence the infections were picked up at the club, officers opted to briefly halt rowing activities to disinfect all oars and other equipment as a precaution, operations manager Susan Meltsner tells redbankgreen.

“Our concern was just to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach,” she said. “We would hate it if another of our rowers got it if we didn’t take the precautions.”

The club acted after two members of its youth rowing program developed visible skin blisters. The mother of one was advised to take the child to a hospital, where the girl was diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA (pronounced “MER-sa”). The parents of the other informed the club that their son had also been diagnosed with MRSA.

Sandy Van Sant, the health officer with the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission, which serves as the health department for Red Bank and 22 other towns, said the “community” form of MRSA is not among those that healthcare providers are required to report.

Incidents of the ailment “happen all the time” in schools and gyms, where open cuts can come into contact with the bacteria that causes it, she said.

Van Sant also said she had not heard of any recent cases of MRSA, but added that any episode is a good time to remind people to wash and disinfect their hands. People working out with athletic equipment should be sure to cover abrasions and lay towels on equipment on which they sit, she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a series of preventative measures that can be taken by health clubs, school and individuals here.

NRR, meanwhile, was back in action on the Navesink Monday morning.