Infectious disease outbreaks in competitive sports, 2005-2010

Cathal James Collins, Brian O'Connell
Journal of Athletic Training 2012, 47 (5): 516-8

CONTEXT: Old, evolving, and new infectious agents continually threaten the participation of competitors in sports.

OBJECTIVE: To provide an update of the medical literature on infectious disease outbreaks in sport for the last 5 years (May 2005-November 2010).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): A total of 21 outbreaks or clusters were identified.

RESULTS: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (n = 7, 33%; mainly community acquired) and tinea (trichophytosis: n = 6, 29%) were the most common pathogens responsible for outbreaks. Skin and soft tissue was the most common site of infection (n = 15, 71%).

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of outbreaks reported occurred in close-contact sports, mainly combat sports (ie, wrestling, judo) and American football. Twelve outbreaks (57%) involved high school or collegiate competitors. Common community outbreak pathogens, such as influenza virus and norovirus, have received little attention.

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