In addition to water bottles, disinfectant spray bottles have become commonplace in many athletic facilities. The routine is simple to adopt; after you’ve used a piece of equipment, simply spray down the surfaces you’ve touched and give it a wipe.
The overall goal of this recent requirement is the prevention of infection spread, particularly Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA. Some twelve years ago, this bacterium, once thought to be only acquired in healthcare facilities, began to show up in the community. Between 2002 and 2003, in Los Angeles alone, outbreaks were recorded suggesting this bacterium was growing in the community. One happened to involve athletes; the spread presumed to be direct body-to-body contact.
Over the next few years, other outbreaks occurred, particularly in those playing football. Some, such as one in Connecticut involved ten people in a team of 100 players. The spread wasn’t limited to direct contact as other indirect means such as showers and sharing locker areas became suspect. By 2008, the risk spread from the locker room to the field.
With MRSA growing in this niche of athletics, the scope spread to other athletic environments. Simply being in a gym with shared weight equipment became a potential risk factor. But a study also published in 2008 put some doubt on the potential for spread suggesting the risk was minimal at best. Yet, because the weight room offers the perfect opportunity for microbial spread, there was no point in ignoring the risk. As a result, disinfection at source was implemented.
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