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Super bug infects via gyms, spas

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DENVER, Oct 26, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new super bug has reportedly infected thousands of people, including members of the Denver Broncos and other NFL players.

The bacterium, called Mersa -- an acronym for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- used to be primarily confined to hospitals. But researchers say it has now spread to athletes in the NFL and others who use workout equipment and gyms.

MRSA lives on the skin and spreads in health clubs, through dirty towels, dirty locker rooms or sweat-drenched workout equipment, Dr. Carolyn Tillquist of Denver's Porter Hospital told KMGH-TV in Denver.

"It will attack anyone," said Steve Antonopolus, the Denver Broncos trainer. "You can't stand for a locker room that is not clean (or) a wet room or spa area that is not disinfected regularly."

During the past few years, Mersa has become resistant to antibiotics and, if left untreated and it enters the bloodstream, Mersa can kill its victims.

To prevent the infection it's recommended people take a good shower; practice smart personal hygiene; wash their hands, towels, uniforms or gym clothes frequently; clean wounds and scratches immediately, and refrain from sharing personal equipment with friends or other people.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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