40 percent of area population could be carrying MRSA bacteria

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 05:22 PM.

NOMC is admitting more flu patients this year than in previous years, including 2009 when the H1N1 strain was first identified, Deonarine said.

Influenza, like MRSA, is an infection that can be spread by contact.

"It's not floating in the air. It's spread by secretions," Deonarine said, adding that people should cough in their elbow, rather than their hands, to prevent touching something and spreading the disease.

Everyone should keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in their car or purse for when they come in contact with commonly touched surfaces such as gas pump handles and door knobs, Deonarine said.

Take precautions — don't panic

The Rev. Joe Butryn, youth minister at Joy Fellowship, took the message in stride, acknowledging the importance of taking preventive measures while cautioning his colleagues about over-reacting to infectious bacteria's presence.

The Rev. Jim Vail of First Baptist Church of Baker agreed. For him, he said, the simple hand-sanitizing precaution Deonarine advised has been effective.

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