Even if they don’t show signs of infection, college athletes who play football, soccer and other contact sports are more likely to carry the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), suggests a study on MRSA and athletes, which is being presented at IDWeek 2014.
This puts them at higher risk for infection and increases the likelihood of spreading the bug, which can cause serious and even fatal infections. The study is the first to observe college athletes who are not part of a larger MRSA outbreak.
Contact sport athletes were more than twice as likely as non-contact athletes to be colonized with MRSA, meaning they carried the bug on their bodies, usually in their noses and throats.
Throughout the two-year study, colonization with MRSA ranged from 8 to 31 percent in contact sports athletes, compared to 0 to 23 percent of non-contact athletes. From 5 to 10 percent of the general population is colonized with MRSA.
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