Los Angeles, CA – At least three Los Angeles police officers have contracted a highly contagious form of staph infection that is resistant to some antibiotics.
Symptoms of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) include headaches, rash, chills, muscle aches, fever, cough, fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath, KABC reported.
It can also cause severe blood and bone infections, according to KCBS.
MRSA is notoriously difficult to treat in many cases, because it is resistant to multiple antibiotics.
“If left untreated, MRSA infections can become severe and cause sepsis – the body’s extreme response to an infection,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Sepsis conditions can rapidly lead to organ failure, tissue damage, and death.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) West Valley station in Reseda, where all three of the affected officers were stationed, has been disinfected, KABC reported.
"The health, safety, and wellbeing of our Los Angeles Police Department officers is critical and we are ensuring the officers exposed to this disease are cared for,” the department said in a press release on Tuesday.
Police said that the outbreak began sometime during the past week, KCBS reported.
The infection was likely spread during interaction with the area’s homeless population, but an exact source has not been identified.
The department has made every effort to stop further spread of the aggressive bacteria, KABC reported.
“First responders throughout the region and especially here in Los Angeles are constantly responding to incidents that put them at risk of potential exposure to various diseases, and that's why the Department takes this incident very seriously,” the agency said. “All of the work areas that may have been exposed have been disinfected."
All three of the infected officers are currently on medical leave, as they undergo treatment and testing, KCBS reported.