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Status Update - H.S. Wrestlers with Reported Skin Lesions

Skin Lesions in Maricopa County Wrestlers
Update 2/11/14

We understand that there is frustration and concern regarding the information surrounding the issue of reported skin lesions among wrestlers from Maricopa County schools involved in a wrestling event on Jan. 24 & 25. Please allow us to provide you a current status from Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH):

  • MCDPH learned on Friday, Feb. 7 from AIA of the concern of multiple cases of skin lesions in wrestlers from multiple Maricopa County schools. No wrestlers with skin lesions have been reported to MCDPH from schools outside of Maricopa County.
  • Skin lesions are considered breaks in the skin such as a blister, rash, cut, scrape or burn.
  • After receiving a list of affected schools from AIA on Monday, Feb. 10, MCDPH began investigating the 5 schools that reported wrestlers with skin lesions and participated in the event on Jan. 24 & 25. A total of 15 affected wrestlers have been reported in Maricopa County thus far.
  • Currently, MCDPH is contacting the affected school administrators, parents, wrestlers and health care providers to determine the cause of these lesions. At this time, we do not have a clear diagnosis of these skin lesions but we are hoping in the next few days after contacting all the affected individuals, we will have a better understanding.
  • MCDPH is also contacting schools who have not reported wrestlers with skin lesions to give them information about reporting any lesions if identified.
    We do know that skin lesions are common in wrestlers and that there are medically proven approaches to prevent the spread of skin disease regardless of the specific cause (bacteria, virus, fungus). MCDPH has developed a fact sheet (below) to highlight these best practices.
  • Parents who are concerned about lesions on their child's body should contact their health care provider. There is no need to contact MCDPH.
  • If we learn anything new that presents an increased risk to the athletes, we will share our recommendations immediately with AIA and the public. At the conclusion of our investigation, we will share the complete findings with AIA and the community.

Prevention of Skin Infection Spread in Athletes

  • Refer athletes with possible skin infections (those with an open wound or break in skin of any kind, e.g. blister, rash, cut, scrape or burn) to a healthcare provider such as team physician, athletic trainer, school nurse, or primary care doctor. Consider excluding from play or practice until evaluated and cleared by a healthcare provider.
  • Educate athletes about ways to prevent spreading the infection.
    • keep wounds covered and contained, those with lesions that cannot be covered should be excluded from participation
    • shower immediately after exercise and do not share bar soap or towels
    • shower before using whirlpools
    • wash and dry uniforms after each use
    • wash hands frequently with soap and water before and after playing sports and activities such as using shared weight-training equipment, when caring for wounds including changing bandages, and after using the toilet.
    • both plain and antimicrobial soap are effective for hand washing, but liquid soap is preferred over bar soap in these settings to limit sharing.
    • if hands are not visibly dirty and sinks are not available for hand washing, alcohol-based hand rubs and sanitizers can be used. Alcohol-based hand rubs with at least 60% alcohol content are preferred.
    • report possible infections to coach, athletic trainer, school nurse, other healthcare providers, or parents.
  • Wash your uniform and clothing after each use. Follow the clothing label's instructions for washing and drying. Drying clothes completely in a dryer is preferred.
  • Wear protective clothing or gear designed to prevent skin abrasions or cuts.
  • Cover skin abrasions and cuts with clean dry bandages or other dressings recommended by your team's healthcare provider (e.g., athletic trainer, team doctor) until healed. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you not participate in athletics even if the wound can be covered depending on the type and location of the wound.
  • Follow your healthcare provider's instructions for when and how often to change your bandages and dressings.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors that contact your bare skin.
  • Do not share ointments that are applied by placing your hands into an open container.
  • Use a barrier (such as clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment like weight-training, sauna, and steam-room benches.
  • Instruct the athletes with a potential or confirmed infection to avoid using whirlpools or therapy pools not cleaned between athletes and other common-use water facilities like swimming pools until infections and wounds are healed.

Review equipment cleaning and disinfecting guidance

  • For surfaces, any approved bathroom cleaner or any product containing bleach
  • For specific ingredients, product should contain Triethylene Glycol 5.40%, Alkyl* dimethyl benzyl ammonium saccharinate Or Octyl decyl dimethyl ammonium chloride Dioctyl dimethyl ammonium chloride Alkyl*dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride For other effective products please visit the following website

For laundry

  • Any laundry detergent is effective, wash in warm or hot water. Machine drying is preferred.
  • Routine laundry procedures, detergents, and laundry additives will all help to make clothes, towels, and linens safe to wear or touch. If items have been contaminated by infectious material, these may be laundered separately, but this is not necessary.


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