Experts at Public Health England have warned that rugby players risk passing on serious skin infections if they share towels, razors or even ice baths with fellow players.
Public Health England investigators arrived at this conclusion after examining incidences of infection by the PVL-MSSA bug at a Midlands rugby team between August 2013 and February 2014. The researchers identified four cases of infection after examining some 60 members. Tests showed that the four cases were caused by identical bacteria, suggesting that this bug was being transmitted between the players.
Upon being asked to fill a questionnaire, some 20% of players said they shared towels regularly, 10% shared razors and 5% shared clothing.
"We would urge any sportsperson who plays a sport where cuts and grazes are commonplace to practise good hygiene and not share any item with fellow team members to reduce their risk of developing an infection," said Dr Deepti Kumar, at Public Health England.