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Several NYC Probationary Firefighters Contract MRSA

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A number of probationary New York City firefighters are on medical leave after contracting a drug-resistant staph infection commonly known as MRSA, officials said.

Fire officials said not all of the probationary firefighters have a confirmed diagnosis, but they were put on leave as a precaution. At least one of the trainees was hospitalized.

“We take this issue very seriously and we are acting aggressively to combat this problem,” FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said in a statement.

The department is cleaning and disinfecting facilities at the FDNY Academy on Randall’s Island to make sure the infection does not spread, Frank Dwyer said.

Trainees have also been told to wear kneepads for drills that involve crawling, to avert scrapes.

MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is typically spread through contact with wounds, contaminated hands or equipment.

Symptoms include boils or a rash. MRSA can be fatal if left untreated, according to the city’s Health Department.

Officials did not disclose exactly how many probationary firefighters are infected.

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