ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Over thirty employees of the Ministry of Culture either failed to report for duty or walked off the job yesterday after a co-worker, who is reportedly infected with the highly contagious strain of the MERSA staph bacteria, turned up for work.
According to WebMD, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA, is a strand of the staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. It can be spread by skin to skin contact as well as by coming in contact with objects that the bacterium is on.
Reliable sources told OBSERVER Media that on Friday the worker disclosed the condition to selected co-workers, instructing them to protect themselves from infection by using antibacterial products.
When other Ministry employees caught wind of the alleged infection, many voiced their concern to management.
Reportedly, they expressed fear of a staph outbreak and advised that the individual should be put on sick leave. Employees also reported that sores associated with the alleged staph infection were still visible on the individual.
When employees arrived to see the infected worker had indeed reported for work on Monday, they decided to leave.
A ten-member delegation purportedly went to meet with the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Millinette Ambrose, to express their concerns and to take action on the matter.
Ambrose reportedly encouraged workers to return to work and said that a doctor would be dispatched to meet with them to address their collective concerns.
Reportedly, the PS should have met with the workers Monday afternoon to give the workers an update. She reportedly said the infected worker’s wounds were healing and she did not believe they were a current threat to the staff’s safety.
Many of the staff, however, did not return to work yesterday citing continued trepidation.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)