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American Academy of Dermatology Research Shows Athletes Susceptible to Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections
Date:6/23/2008

at also involves intense physical contact and could potentially expose players to risk factors for contracting MRSA. For example, Dr. Adams explained that the limited use of padded equipment in rugby creates the potential for more skin-to-skin contact but also reduces the risks associated with abrasive, shared or unclean equipment. "One report from the United Kingdom found that five members of a rugby team developed large abscesses on the upper areas of their arms, back, neck and face," said Dr. Adams. "Because the MRSA infections developed only in forward players, the investigators concluded that the outbreak probably resulted from sustained physical contact rather than from transmission through shared facilities or equipment."

In addition, studies show that wrestlers, who often engage in prolonged physical contact and experience frequent mat burns, also may be prone to MRSA infections. In a statewide survey of high school athletic trainers, the Texas Department of Health noted six MRSA infections involving wrestlers; another report issued by the Indiana Department of Health identified two high school wrestlers infected with MRSA.

"In this latter study, the two affected teammates had never wrestled each other because they competed in different weight classes," said Dr. Adams. "Therefore, transmission of MRSA may have occurred through the use of shared items instead of personal contact -- although the high level of person-to-person contact in wrestling remains a potentially significant means of transmitting the infection."

Dr. Adams noted that additional studies among athletes point to shared personal items as contributing factors for MRSA transmission. Two separate outbreaks involving college athletes in Pennsylvania and California resulted in multiple football players requiring hospitalization due to MRSA infections. The reporting health departments in each instance recognized the sharing of unwashed bath towels, balms and lubricants as possib
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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