-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of being infected
with antibiotic-resistant bacteria when using community gyms may
not be as high as believed, a new study suggests.
Growing concerns about the spread of infection have prompted
many gyms to begin extensive cleaning programs, but this finding
suggests such efforts may not be necessary in all gym settings.
Researchers from the University of Florida College of Medicine
collected 240 samples from exercise equipment in three local gyms
before and after cleaning, at three different times. The samples
were collected from gym mats, benches, dumbbells, cardio machines
and weight-training machines.
Each sample was analyzed for methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive
Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). None of the samples were positive for
MRSA or MSSA.
The study appears in the March issue of the
American Journal of Infection Control.
"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," lead investigator Dr. Kathleen Ryan said in a journal news release. "Aggressive and expensive surface disinfection programs may not be warranted in certain gymnasium settings."
It's known that MRSA can remain viable on dry surfaces for long
periods of time. However, Ryan and her colleagues said their
findings support evidence that MRSA transmission is more likely to
occur through skin-to-skin contact rather than skin-to-surface
contact in the community.
The researchers noted that this was a small study and future
studies might collect samples from gym users' clothing, door knobs,
water fountains, and other areas of the locker room that might be
more likely to be colonized by MRSA and MSSA.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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