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From the Field - November 2010

Posted: December 1, 2010

Over the past several years, skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria have received considerable attention due to potentially life-threatening health complications.

Over the past several years, skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria have received considerable attention due to potentially life-threatening health complications. Because of recent outbreaks of staph infections among athletes, synthetic turf has been targeted by some as the source of these infections. We tested 20 synthetic turf fields for the presence of staph bacteria and found none to be present on any field. Staph bacteria were found on blocking pads, weight equipment, used towels, and a stretching table. In another experiment, we placed live staph bacteria onto synthetic turf and monitored its survival time. On outdoor fields, nearly all bacteria were dead within 3 hours, most likely due to UV light and high surface temperature. On indoor fields, some bacteria survived for several days. We also compared the effectiveness of a common anti-microbial treatment and TideĀ® liquid detergent. Both products were equally effective at reducing bacteria survival time on indoor fields (no live bacteria after 24 hours), but their effectiveness could not be determined outdoors because the bacteria died quickly, regardless of whether or not a treatment was applied. It appears that sunlight may be the best disinfectant.