By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Reports from the NFL Players Association show a recent outbreak of MRSA in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers locker room could threaten this Sunday’s Eagles vs. Bucs game. Three players have been diagnosed and are being treated.
The NFL released the following statement, saying, “Our office, the NFLPA, and appropriate medical specialists are working with the medical staff to aggressively address the matter.”
On the skin, MRSA can look like a blister or a rash that can become swollen and painful. It’s a type of staph infection that’s often resistant to most antibiotics and can be difficult to treat.
“It’s passed by close contact with other people who either have an infection with MRSA or they may just have it on their bodies. That’s the way athletes transmit it,” says Dr. Neil Fishman, an infectious disease specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
“MRSA can cause a lot of different infections, and they can range from very mild infections to very serious infections,” Dr. Fishman adds.
MRSA has become a problem for many sports teams, with athletes being in close quarters, using the same equipment, sharing showers and sometimes getting cuts, which is how MRSA spreads.
“In order to get an infection with the organism, you actually have to have some way for the organism to get in the skin, so an open wound or scratch some type of abrasion,” explains Dr. Fishman.
MRSA infections are treated with powerful antibiotics. Infected athletes are usually kept away from the team so it doesn’t spread.
And while this is a contagious infection, it doesn’t spread easily in other environments like classrooms or offices.
For more info on MRSA, visit: www.cdc.gov/mrsa