by Mike SeverReporterWith more Ohio school districts reporting cases of drug-resistant staph infection, local public health officials are reminding that the illness is not that rare.Kelly Engelhart, director of nursing for the Portage County Health Department, said the individual cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known by the acronym MRSA, are not unusual."This is something we are going to have to learn to live with," Engelhart said. "It is not something normally transmitted in the school setting. "And normal hygiene and handwashing are the best prevention practices we can do."MRSA is not required to be reported to the state health department, she said. A few individual cases do not constitute an outbreak.MRSA usually looks like an infected pimple or boil, but it can worsen to redness, swelling, pain and discharge. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact.Two cases were confirmed recently at Waterloo High School in southern Randolph Township, and two more were confirmed in the Euclid school district near Cleveland. Several cases have been confirmed in the Cincinnati area and in other parts of Ohio.Some schools have taken drastic steps to clean locker rooms and other areas, such as hosing down lockers with disinfectant. Engelhart said the response may be overblown."We don't need to overreact, but we do need to be aware of normal infection control practices, of sanitary procedures," Engelhart said."Cleaning schools is a great idea, but it is something we should be doing all the time, not just when we have a child with an MRSA infection. "It should be done regularly to prevent influenza and the gastrointestinal infections that keep kids out of school."Engelhart said some districts have been calling the health department for more information on the illness and its prevention.Editor's note: Sever is a reporter for the Record-Courier. E-mail: Telephone: 330-296-9657