I’m missing something here: NJ school closed due to staff with C. difficile?

According to NBC 10, Perth Amboy’s William McGinnis Middle School is closed for cleaning and sanitizing as a staff member was found to have C. difficile.

Perth Amboy’s William McGinnis Middle School remains closed while it undergoes an extensive cleaning after an adult who works there was diagnosed with a germ that causes infectious diarrhea.LP_img_ClosedSchool

The school was closed as a precaution on Friday after the woman was sent home on Thursday. The district says she has an intestinal bacillus known as clostridium difficile.

The district did not release her name or say what her job is.

The district says it has hired a company to completely disinfect the school and classes are scheduled to resume on Thursday.

Closing a school for C. difficile is a new one to me.

Maybe they mean norovirus, I dunno.

In a 2009 review of C. difficile infections, Rupnik, Wilcox and Gerding suggest that the pathogen is out there (environmentally and in food) but risk factors for acquiring the pathogen include the use of antibiotics and hospital stays. Not going to a school where someone has the bug.

Hospitalization is a risk because it brings together multiple major [C. difficile infection]  CDI risks, including exposure to antibiotics, a spore-contaminated environment, inadequate hand hygiene by health care workers and a highly susceptible elderly population of patients

Possible community sources for CDI include soil, water, pets, animals used for food, meats and vegetables. There is no conclusive evidence that C. difficile contamination of food has led to clinical CDI in humans.

I wonder if they will be using hydrogen peroxide to disinfect (it’s not too common outside of healthcare).

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.