Virginia public schools spokesman Charles Pyle said the Education Department’s health specialist has received about eight calls about the problem since school started. Last year, he received only two calls during the entire fall semester. “We’re not viewing this as something to be overly alarmed about,” Pyle said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.On Friday, the high school in Galax, Va., postponed a football game because of an infection on its football team. School officials said they could not clean the equipment in time for the kickoff. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta does not track staph infections but confirmed that the cases seem to be more widespread than in the past. “Most of these are mild infections,” agency spokeswoman Nicole Coffin said. “They can be as simple as a pimple or a boil, or as serious as a blood infection.” The drug-resistant strain, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, or MRSA, can be especially stubborn. It resists treatment with penicillin and related antibiotics but can be treated with other drugs. The potentially fatal germ typically thrives in health care settings where people have open wounds. But in recent years, outbreaks have also occurred in schools. RICHMOND, Va. – Schools across the country are reporting outbreaks of staph infections, particularly among athletes, and the germs include an antibiotic-resistant strain that is sometimes associated with serious skin problems and blood disorders. The infections have forced districts to call off classes, cancel sporting events and disinfect entire buildings. Several students have been hospitalized. Many of the infections are being spread in gyms and locker rooms, where athletes – perhaps suffering from cuts or abrasions – share sports equipment. In Virginia, a Newport News high school closed its weight room Thursday to be disinfected after at least four students were infected – one with the drug-resistant strain. The drug-resistant patient, a football player, was hospitalized for three days.