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CDC Warns Student Athletes About Staph Infection

CDC Warns Student Athletes About Staph Infection

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Ed Yeates ReportingThe Centers for Disease Control is warning high school athletes about a drug resistant infection that's put a number of players across the country in the hospital. The Utah High School Activities Association is meeting with its sports medicine advisory committee this week to discuss the warning.

Physicians already know the difficulty in treating staph infections in hospitals. Now the drug resistant staphylococcus bug has been showing up recently in locker rooms and on playing fields. With cases now reported in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado and California, the CDC says it's time to raise a red flag.

David Wilkey, Asst. Director, Utah High School Activities Association: "We just don't know the long range implications and it could be a lot bigger, as you may well know, and so we're going to very much err on the side of caution."

While Utah high schools have reported no infection clusters this year, other states have, including hospitalizations. In fact in Colorado, five fencers were infected earlier this year because competitors shared sensor wires used to record hits by an opponent's weapon.

This strain of staph is a drug resistant skin infection, usually passed on through close contact, as in football or wrestling. Dave Wilkey says Utah had problems with a milder form of staph several years ago.

David Wilkey, Asst. Director, Utah High School Activities Association: "There were a couple of men that went down with the infection, that we think came from the wrestling mats. We never could prove that."

The CDC says the infections often look like a routine skin lesion or a boil and often go undiagnosed. The Utah High School Activities Association already has guidelines in place but may recommend even more now in light of this latest CDC warning.

Athletes should keep wounds covered or they should be excluded from the sport until it's treated or heals. They should not share towels or personal items, and should routinely clean equipment.

The NCAA's medical committee has also sent out a warning to college athletic departments.

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