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For Immediate Release

January 16, 2002

Contact: Jeff Lyons
Public Information Officer
Phone: 603-271-5602

NH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS MEDICAL STAFF TREATS INMATES FOR NON-LIFE THREATENING SKIN RASH AT BERLIN FACILITY

(Berlin, NH) The New Hampshire Department of Corrections Medical Staff reports that some inmates at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin were diagnosed with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. It is a non-life threatening bacteria-based skin infection that is also known MRSA. Its symptoms include a rash or other similar skin lesions.

NH-DOC Medical Staff conducted tests on 12 inmates last week. 2 were positively identified as contracting MRSA, 5 were pending, and 5 were negative. The New Hampshire Office of Community and Public Health Disease Control Division will review the test specimens to make a final diagnosis.

The inmates were temporarily moved into the same housing unit but they need not be quarantined. The offenders may continue to participate in programs and work assignments as long as their infections are covered. The infection may last up to several weeks. The department medical staff is treating the patients with antibiotics. Other inmates are encouraged to take preventative measures by regularly washing their hands.

The DOC and the NH Office of Community & Public Health are investigating the source of this outbreak. The infection appears confined to inmates only. Concerned inmate families may call (603) 752-0364 for information on an incarcerated relative.

The health and safety of the general public is not at risk as the infection is spread only by skin contact.

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