Questions and Answers About MRSA for Athletes December 21, 2015 14:00

via Allegheny County Health Department
What is Community Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CAMRSA)?

CA-MRSA is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Infection with MRSA means that some antibiotics will not work against these bacteria. Many people carry Staphylococcal organisms in their nasal cavity, but do not have an active infection. Those people are called “carriers”. Most people who get an infection with CA-MRSA often think they have a spider bite because of a reddened area on the skin that may drain pus or form an abscess.

How do athletes get CA-MRSA?

Athletes can contract CA-MRSA by close skin to skin contact, sharing athletic equipment, sharing towels, razors, or other personal items with someone who has an active infection or who is a carrier. Athletes may get abrasions from artificial turf; these abrasions may serve as an entry point for CA-MRSA. The turf is no more likely to harbor the MRSA bacteria than any other surface.

How do we prevent CA-MRSA in athletes?

Handwashing is the best way to prevent infection. Avoid sharing towels, razors, and other personal items. Wash hands with antibacterial soap and use disposable paper towels. Athletes should shower with soap after each practice or game. Shared athletic equipment should be cleaned with bleach-water solution (1:10 dilution of sodium hypochlorite, which is approximately ¼ cup of 5.25% household chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water) on a regularly scheduled basis. Athletic team members and trainers should also practice hand hygiene in between contact with athletes by using a hand sanitizer when soap and disposable paper towels are not available.