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Judges Receive update on MRSA Virus

18th February 2016

Minister of National Security and Labour the Hon. Steadroy Cutie Benjamin is making an appeal to the media to be more responsible in their reporting especially of the MRSA virus as their role is not just to inform, but to educate the populace.

It is with this in mind, that a meeting was convened on Thursday bringing together Judges Albert Redhead and Keith Thom along with Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Armstrong, Prosecutors Adali Smith and Relis Adams, Commissioner Police Wendell Robinson and Superintendent of Prison Albert Wade to get a better understanding of the MRSA situation in Her Majesty’s Prison.

Members present at the meeting stated that based on the information that was received at the meeting they have concluded that media reports where somewhat sensationalized and that sort of practice should be discontinued.

Medical Officer within the Ministry of Health Dr. Oreta Zachariah stated that officials have all right to be concern, but MRSA as stated before is not the major issue. She continued that proper hygiene and sanitation should be practiced in the prison and the overcrowding remains as one of the prime concern for medical practioners.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Sealy-Thomas says that a prisoner was confirmed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) two weeks ago and recently a second case was confirmed at the correctional facility.

MRSA is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics that are commonly used to treat infections and according to Sealy-Thomas, there are two types of the virus.

“You have Hospital acquired or community acquired and community acquired MRSA is common in placed you would have persons housed together like prisons, daycare facilities and nursing homes and what it is that’s happening with MRSA you have bacteria that can colonize the skin and also the nose, we need to make the distinction between colonization and infection as we have people who carry this bacteria and is not infected,” Sealy-Thomas mentioned.

She added that once your immune system is strong MRSA does not affect you.

The Chief Medical Officer that overcrowding at the prison must urgently be addressed to reduce the occurrence of certain type of infections and viruses.

The Minister of National Security and Labour the Hon. Steadroy Cutie Benjamin says that discussions will be held shortly to address the issue, with a possible solution of getting a new penal facility and a remand centre.

“A new facility is being discussed but the government will look at all the options in order to bring an end to this situation and to avoid any further mishaps,” Benjamin added.

It was further agreed that any prisoner who may have a legion or boil on his/her body will not be allowed to leave the correctional facility as a safety precaution method.

The Ministry of Health also provided the Prison recently with various disinfectant needed as part of a cleanup effort. Both Ministry of Public Safety and Health is working together to ensure that MRSA is decolonized.

Laurisa Francis Communications Officer Tel: (268) 464-5348