‘Physical contact, shared facilities and equipment, and poor hygiene all contribute to MRSA among athletes,’ they said in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology online.
They reviewed a number of studies on athletes, including a number of pieces of research on American football, one UK study on rugby and a piece of Indian research on wrestling. They noted that MRSA most frequently appeared as an infection of the skin and underlying tissues, and looked like a pimple, boil or abscess, sometimes with draining fluid or pus.
‘It appears that the primary mode of MRSA transmission involves person-to-person contact, but the significance of this risk factor varies among different sports,’ said Dr Brian Adams, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati.
‘Even in largely non-contact sports such as soccer, volleyball, cross-country, fencing and weight lifting, outbreaks of MRSA infections have been reported – suggesting that shared facilities or shared personal items were the likely culprit,’ he added.