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Health department, county schools officials to meet

Jan. 27, 2013 @ 12:30 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Cabell-Huntington Health Department officials are addressing the problem of skin infections among athletes in county schools.

Positive cases of herpes gladiatorium last week resulted in the Cabell Midland High School wrestling team being disqualified from the WSAZ Invitational.

Herpes gladiatorium is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, a health department news release said. It is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. Lesions (sores) appear within eight days after exposure to an infected person, but in some cases it may take longer to appear.

All athletes with skin sores or lesions should be referred to a physician or primary care provider for evaluation and possible treatment, the health department said. These athletes should not participate in practice or competition until their lesions have healed.

Wrestling and football are the sports with the most number of outbreaks for skin infections, the release said.

The health department release said skin infections account for up to 10 percent of time-loss injuries in some sports and can cause serious illness.

Other common skin infections in athletes are staph infections and ringworm. Staph is a bacterial infection and can cause one or more painful sores with pus surrounded by redness, sometimes associated with fever. Ringworm is caused by fungus and typically there are circular patches that can be itchy, dry and red.

The wounds or rashes can infect other athletes, the release said. Rarely, serious life-threatening infections may occur if not diagnosed and treated quickly.

Health department officials advise all athletes, coaches and parents to take the proper precautions. Personal hygiene is essential with hand-washing, showering, covering wounds, washing clothes and washing equipment routinely.

Cabell County Schools officials were expected to meet with the health department and discuss the proper precautions in more detail.

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