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Pittsburgh Hospital Teams with Pirates Baseball Club in Unique Effort to Encourage Teen Handwashing, Prevent Spread of MRSA
Date:4/21/2009

dangers of MRSA and the role of hand washing as the best weapon against infection. Presentations will include "Glo-Germ," which graphically highlights the presence of germs on computer keyboards, Wii controllers, soda bottles and sports equipment.

"AGH has a rich history of developing outreach programs that focus on improving the health and well being of our communities. This new campaign addresses a significant, emerging public health problem and we are extremely grateful to the organizations who have come together to assist us in this effort," said Debra L. Caplan, senior vice president at AGH and the hospital's chief liaison to the northside community.

Students attending school assemblies will learn about proper handwashing technique, how germs are spread, sanitizer vs. soap and water, and MRSA.

"Teenagers have been a forgotten group in MRSA education outreach," said Cheryl Herbert, director of AGH's Infection Prevention Program. "Most efforts have focused on children and older adults, but with MRSA infections increasing in schools, we felt it was important to educate teenagers about this critical public health issue."

Herbert stressed that hand-washing is also effective at reducing the spread of other common illnesses, such as influenza.

The involvement of a professional athlete like McLouth is key to getting teenagers' attention, Ms. Herbert said.

"I am very happy to be part of this campaign," McLouth said. "As a professional athlete, I believe it is important to serve as a positive role model in the community, and if lending my support to this effort means even one less young person has to deal with this devastating illness, then it is immensely worthwhile."

The so-called "5Cs," factors that make it easier for MRSA to be transmitted, are common in schools. These factors are Crowding, frequent skin-to-skin Contact, Compromised skin (cuts or
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SOURCE Allegheny General Hospital
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