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Infect Drug Resist. 2019 May 7;12:1161-1170. doi: 10.2147/IDR.S195749. eCollection 2019.

Prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus carriage and pattern of antibiotic resistance, including methicillin resistance, among contact sport athletes in Italy.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Catanzaro "Magna Græcia", Catanzaro, Italy.
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Catanzaro "Magna Græcia", Catanzaro, Italy.
Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy.


Background and purpose: Athletes participating in contact or collision sports have a great chance of acquiring Staphylococcus aureus infections. The risk factors for colonization and infections include frequent antibiotic use, close contact situations, skin trauma, sharing of sports equipment, and poor hygiene. Therefore, our specific goals were to determine (1) prevalence of S. aureus among different types of contact sport athletes which were barely studied in the European region, (2) antimicrobial resistance of S. aureus isolates, and (3) association of carriage with particular risk factors of spor t practices. Patients and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among contact or collision sport athletes in Italy. A questionnaire was used to gather information about sociodemographic characteristics, specific sport activities, and participants' health conditions. Swabs were collected from the nares, oropharynx, and fingers and tested for S. aureus isolation and antimicrobial susceptibility. Results: S. aureus was carried by 42% of 238 enrolled athletes. Colonization was associated with number of weekly training days, sharing of sports equipment, not taking a shower immediately after training, and a previous history of pharyngitis or sinusitis and skin manifestations. Isolates were resistant to clindamycin (24.8%) and erythromycin (15.8%). Of all athletes, 1.3% carried methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA); MRSA were 3% of all S. aureus isolates. No strains were resistant to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim. Conclusion: Our results have shown a high prevalence of S. aureus carriage and a relevant resistance to antimicrobials used for the treatment of S. aureus infections. Prevention efforts aimed at reducing S. aureus colonization, and thus potentially reducing infections, should be improved.


MRSA; S. aureus; antibiotic resistance; antibiotic susceptible; athletes; colonization

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