MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus) is a type of “staph” infection that is not spread through the air, but among persons having close, physical contact with others who are already infected. It is most commonly found in hospitals and nursing homes but can also be transmitted among members of the community at large. MRSA is spread through direct contact, most often among players of close-contact sports. MRSA may also spread through indirect contact, such as touching shared items like towels, sheets, used bandages, clothing and sports equipment, including items found in fitness centers, equipment areas and locker rooms. This “staph” bacterium is commonly carried on the skin, or in the nose of a person who looks healthy. The carrier may not appear ill, or have symptoms that raise concern.
The most effective policies and procedures to prevent the spread of any contagious disease, including MRSA, are to focus on your own personal health and good hygiene. Every person on campus should:
- Follow good hygiene practices. Do your laundry on a regular basis and keep your room free of any garbage.
- Cover or properly protect wounds of the skin.
- Do not share clothing and protective equipment that may traumatize the skin.
- Do not share items such as bars of soap, cosmetics, razors and towels.
- Clean equipment in weight rooms with disinfectant spray and paper towels before and after use.
- DO NOT use sports equipment that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.
- Utilize cleaning materials that are provided in the weight rooms as they are specifically designed for the type or bacteria/viruses that present the risk.
- Wash hands and exposed areas of the body frequently using soap and hot water or alcohol based hand cleaners.
- Seek assistance from the University Health Center if you have a skin infection that appears red or swollen.
The University at Albany is committed to providing a safe environment for our students and is following the guidelines set forward by the New York State Department of Health and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Go to http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/index.html for more information on this topic.