Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Great Athletes Have Great Hands

The Pirates, Allegheny Health Department, Northside Leadership Conference and Allegheny General Hospital have partnered on a new public health campaign to encourage teen handwashing and prevent MRSA in schools. Cheryl Herbert, Director of Infection Prevention at Allegheny General, says there are 2 main type of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infections that are highly resistant to antibiotics: a hospital based strain that can attack the bloodstream and be deadly, and a community strain that is a dangerous skin infection that results in rashes, boils, and pimples. Herbert says regular handwashing can help prevent transmission. Herbert says the community strain has been around for about 8 years and has cropped up in schools and in particular among sports teams because of the nature of the sports including possible skin contact, shared towels and water bottles. So, health and community officials have teamed with Pirate Gold Glove outfielder Nate McLouth for the "All Great Athletes Have Great Hands" campaign to encourage handwashing by teen athletes and other students. Herbert says drastic steps are not needed....just wash uniforms and disinfect the sports equipment.

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