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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among players on a high school football team--New York City, 2007.

On September 12, 2007, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) was notified of three players on a Brooklyn high school football team with culture-confirmed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). During August 19--24, the team had attended a preseason football training camp, where all 59 players on the team lived together in the school gymnasium. An investigation by DOHMH revealed four culture-confirmed and two suspected cases of MRSA among 51 players interviewed (11.8% attack rate). Of the six cases, three involved abscesses that required incision and drainage. The risk for MRSA infection was higher among those who shared towels during the training camp than among those who did not (relative risk [RR] = 8.2). In addition, the six players with MRSA infections had a mean body mass index (BMI) that was significantly higher than the mean for those who were not infected. Multivariable logistic modeling determined that sharing towels during camp (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 15.7) and higher BMI (AOR = 1.4) were associated independently with MRSA infection. Similar outbreaks have been reported among football teams in which inadequate hygiene, combined with skin injuries and living in close quarters, contributed to the spread of MRSA infection. Such outbreaks might be prevented by better educating players and coaches regarding SSTIs and by better promoting proper player hygiene, particularly during training camps.

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