The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 13, 2014

Somerset offices reopen

SOMERSET — Two Somerset County offices reopened Monday, days after a county employee in the building tested positive for a bacterial infection.

District Judge Kenneth Johnson’s North Kimberly Avenue office and the Somerset County Public Defenders Office, which occupy the same floor, were both disinfected by a professional cleaning company and staff at both offices were swab-tested for MRSA after one employee tested positive for the staph bacteria, Somerset County Solicitor Dan Rullo said.

“Their tests were sent to the lab and they all came back negative,” Rullo said. “Everyone else was cleared so it was an isolated case.”

Rullo said the county learned late last week that a district judge’s office employee was diagnosed with MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus.

The county had no reason to believe the infection was an immediate threat to spread, “but out of an abundance of caution, we decided to close those offices,” Rullo added, saying it gave the county a chance to assess the situation.

MRSA – sometimes called a “super bug” in the medical community – causes skin infections and sores in common cases but also can be life threatening, depending on where the infection occurs, partly because its difficult to treat.

MRSA is resistant to many typical antibiotics used to treat symptoms it creates.

The Public Defender’s Office, which employs seven employees, and the district judge’s office, which employs approximately 14, reopened Monday morning.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www. twitter.com/tddavidhurst

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