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MRSA becoming more common among people taking part in sport

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MRSA infections, traditionally associated with hospitals, are now becoming more common in everyday life, especially among people participating in sport, say US researchers.

‘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.

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