Study finds MRSA danger in gyms may be exaggerated

Mar 03, 2011

Community gym surfaces do not appear to be reservoirs for MRSA transmission, according to a study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of APIC – the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

The purpose of the study, conducted by researchers from the University of Florida College of Medicine, was to determine whether community gymnasium equipment surfaces could harbor staphylococcal colonies and to assess whether disinfection lowers the rate of bacterial transmission. A total of 240 samples were collected from three local gyms, before and after cleaning, at three different times. Each sample was analyzed for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). In all 240 samples, none were positive for MRSA or MSSA.

"Despite the increasing incidence of community-acquired MRSA/MSSA infections, the gyms that we studied do not appear to be significant sources of staphylococcal infection," commented lead investigator Kathleen Ryan, MD, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Florida. "Aggressive and expensive surface disinfection programs may not be warranted in certain gymnasium settings."

MRSA is known to remain viable on dry surfaces for extended periods. With rising concerns about spread of infection, gyms have begun extensive cleaning programs, and some offer complimentary wipes for use by the patrons.

Equipment tested in each gym included two separate gym mats, benches, dumbbells, cardio machines, and weight machines. The first swabbing was completed at midday to serve as a baseline. A second sample was obtained in the two gyms that offered wipes shortly after equipment was cleaned with the wipes provided for discretionary use. A third sample was obtained shortly after equipment was cleaned according to the gym's standard cleaning practices.

"This study supports the evidence that transmission [of MRSA] is more likely to originate from skin-to-skin contact than skin-to-surface contact in the community," say the authors.

The authors recognize that broad conclusions should not be drawn from a study of this size and they suggest that future studies could swab recently used clothing of gym patrons, doorknobs, water fountains, or other areas within the locker room that might be more susceptible to colonization by MRSA and MSSA.

MRSA is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can lead to severe infections and is associated with approximately 19,000 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The annual cost to treat in hospitalized patients is estimated at $3.2 to 4.2 billion.

Explore further: Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

More information: Citation: AJIC 2011; 39 [2]

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Blue light destroys antibiotic-resistant staph infection

Jan 29, 2009

Two common strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, were virtually eradicated in the laboratory by exposing them to a wavelength of blue light, in a process called photo-irradiation that i ...

Study finds MRSA screening saves hospitals money

Jan 27, 2011

Screening patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) produces cost savings for the whole hospital, according to a study that used a statistical simulation model published ...

Can we 'wipe out' MRSA?

Jun 03, 2008

Three basic principles is all it could take to reduce the incidence of MRSA in hospitals according to a new research by Cardiff University.

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

3 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

7 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.