Gyms and Community Acquired Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA)


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Trad climber
Jan 28, 2007 - 01:58pm PT
Education as prevention- a study on it's effectiveness in athletic

In fall of 2003, an outbreak of Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) occurred in Mecklenburg County involving athletes and non-athletes in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.

In response to this outbreak the Mecklenburg County Health Department developed an educational video, brochure, and website with a fact sheet to educate athletes, parents, athletic personnel, and the public about proper hygiene procedures used to prevent and control this type of infection. Pre and post tests were administered along with the video to a sample of high school athletes to assess current hygiene knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Pre/Post testing showed:

* 86.4% increase in knowledge and attitude of effectiveness of hand washing,
* 6.4% in showering,
* 240.4% in cleaning shared equipment, and
* 145.4% in reporting suspicious sores to their school nurse or healthcare provider.

You can visit this link to read more about this study:

Here is a link to an informational page on the site about CA-MRSA and also a link to the video mentioned in the athletic awareness campaign:

Maybe we should all try to pass this video around? Thanks,

Trad climber
the blighted lands of hatu
Jan 28, 2007 - 04:37pm PT
lots of good information
lots of food for thought
and one of the best lines ever

"Climbing plastic? Isn't that like scraping the bong?"

I'll never be able to do either again without thinking of MRSA ;-)

Trad climber
Feb 28, 2007 - 10:12am PT
Organization Addresses Potential Risks and Offers Prevention Tips

DALLAS , March 16 – In an effort to educate the public about the potential risks of community-acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus infection (CA-MRSA), the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) has issued an official statement recommending all health care personnel and physically active adults and children take appropriate precautions if suspicious skin infections appear, and immediately contact their physician.

NATA represents 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through public education and research. Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are allied health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. They can be found in sports settings, performing arts, corporations, the military, schools, clinics and hospitals, physician offices, and other health care facilities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Staphylococcus aureus , often referred to as “staph,” are bacteria carried on the skin or in the nose of 25 to 35 percent of healthy people. This is known as colonization. It occurs when the staph bacteria are present or in the body without causing illness. Infection occurs when the staph bacteria causes disease in the person.

In the past, most serious staph bacterial infections were treated with an antibiotic related to penicillin. In recent years, treatment of these infections has become more difficult because staph bacteria have become resistant to various antibiotics, including the commonly used penicillin related antibiotics. These resistant bacteria are called methicillin resistant staphylococcus or MRSA. According to the CDC, one percent of the population is colonized with MRSA.

MRSA infections usually develop in hospitalized patients. However, MRSA rates have increased recently in persons outside of health care facilities, affecting athletes and the physically active.

“Staph or MRSA infections develop from person-to-person contact, shared towels, soaps, improperly cleaned whirlpools and sports equipment,” says Ron Courson, ATC, PT, NREMT-I, CSCS, head athletic trainer at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. “Such infections usually appear first as pimples, pustules and boils. Some can be red, swollen, painful and/or have pus or other drainage. The pustules may be confused with insect bites in early states. The infections may also be associated with previous existing turf burns or abrasions. Without proper referral and care, more serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections or surgical wound infections.” Courson believes maintaining good hygiene and avoiding contact with drainage from skin lesions are the best methods for preventing MRSA infections.

NATA’s official statement recommends the following precautions be taken:

Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer routinely.
Encourage immediate showering following activity.
Avoid whirlpools or common tubs. Individuals with open wounds, scrapes or scratches can easily infect others in this environment.
Avoid sharing towels, razors, and daily athletic gear.
Properly wash athletic gear and towels after each use.
Maintain clean facilities and equipment.
Inform or refer to appropriate health care personnel for all active skin lesions and lesions that do not respond to initial therapy.
Administer or seek proper first aid.
Encourage health care personnel to seek bacterial cultures to establish a diagnosis.
Care and cover skin lesions appropriately before participation.
ATCs throughout the country are celebrating National Athletic Training Month in March promoting the message: "Rehabilitation: Accelerated Return to Activity."

To view the NATA official statement, visit For more CA-MRSA information, from the CDC, visit or visit

About the National Athletic Trainers’ Asssociation (NATA):

Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are unique health care providers who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) represents and supports 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. March is National Athletic Training Month. NATA, 2952 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 200, Dallas, TX 75247, 214.637.6282; 214.637.2206 (fax).

Trad climber
Apr 13, 2007 - 07:30am PT
Hello all-

It seemed like there were quite a few med folk following this topic, and I thought this news was significant to share. Basically, for those of us who are recieving MRSA infections (and for you med folk treating us), be aware that CA_MRSA can be very quickly lethal if it forms respiratory pneumonia. It has a rapid onset and is often fatal. I'm reacting to this in the following ways; I will treat any respiratory infection very carefully and monitor them, and also make all medical professionals who treat me aware of this condition. I will also be careful to not freak out about this all the time...:-) , but I do think as many people as possible should be aware of all of this to ensure that we get the fastest treatment possible if anything happens.

This is a recent announcement by the CDC:

CDC Reports Severe Influenza-Associated MRSA Pneumonia

The CDC reports 10 cases of severe influenza-associated
community-acquired pneumonia caused by methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus infection.

The cases, six of them fatal, occurred last December and January in
Louisiana and Georgia; the patients' median age was about 18.
According to a report in MMWR, the cases were especially notable
because of the rapid course of the disease. Death occurred within 4
days of respiratory-symptom onset for four of the six patients who
died, suggesting that the influenza and S. aureus infections occurred
concurrently in these cases.

Four of the patients had documented history of MRSA skin and
soft-tissue infection in themselves or a close contact before
developing pneumonia. The CDC said MRSA should be suspected in severe
pneumonia cases, particularly during flu season, and in patients with
cavitary infiltrates or a history of MRSA infection. In such
instances, treatment should include vancomycin or linezolid.


East of Seattle
Apr 13, 2007 - 09:05am PT
Yikes! Thanks Meg. Very good to be aware of.

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Apr 13, 2007 - 11:19am PT
Gym climbers should keep a watch out for inconciderate climbers on the wall with open finger wounds, cuts, or gobis. Tell them to wash up, tape up, and/or stop climbing.

If you see blood on the holds or wall tell the gym staff and make sure they clean it...

wash your hands, A LOT!
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