Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was predominantly a hospital-acquired organism; recently, however, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) has been causing outbreaks in otherwise healthy individuals involved in athletics. As such, CA-MRSA is of emerging concern to sanitarians and public health officials. Secondary school athletic trainers and student athletes may be at elevated risk of spreading or contracting MRSA. The absence of proper hygiene protocols or equipment may further increase this risk. In the study discussed in this article, environmental samples were obtained to identify the prevalence of MRSA on surfaces in high school athletic training and wrestling facilities mats in nine rural Ohio high schools. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were prepared. All nine (100%) of the sites tested had at least one positive sample for the presence of MRSA. The need for heightened sanitation, hygiene education of affected persons about skin and soft tissue infections like MRSA, and intervention opportunities for public health professionals are discussed.
Reprinted by permission from the Jan/Feb 2010 Issue of the Journal of Environmental Health, the official publication of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).