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University Hospitals Sports Medicine Finds Infection Control Program Reduced Bacteria by 95% in Athletic Training Rooms

UH partnered with GOJO on the study that eliminated influenza, MRSA and VRE through an Infection Risk Reduction Program

CLEVELAND, Jan. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- University Hospitals Sports Medicine researchers, in partnership with GOJO – the inventor of PURELL® hand sanitizer, found that an Infection Risk Reduction Program implemented in participating athletic training rooms reduced the overall amount of bacteria present by 95%, including completely eliminating the presence of influenza and multidrug-resistant organisms, such as MRSA.

University Hospitals Sports Medicine researchers, in partnership with GOJO – the inventor of PURELL® hand sanitizer, found that an Infection Risk Reduction Program implemented in participating athletic training rooms reduced the overall amount of bacteria present by 95%, including completely eliminating the presence of influenza and multidrug-resistant organisms, such as MRSA.

The study, published in the January 2020 issue of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) national publication Sports Health, concluded that a program that modifies hygiene behavior by connecting products, people and education can yield impactful infection control results and benefits.

The risk of athletes contracting multidrug-resistant infections from bacteria breeding in athletic training rooms is a real concern. Prior national studies of high school athletic training rooms have suggested over 40% of surfaces may be contaminated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

"Our protocol was based upon principles used in the athletic training rooms in the National Football League and healthcare hygiene best practices. Our simplified protocol proved effective and provides a foundation for preventing infections in student-athletes at the collegiate and high school level not only locally, but across the country," said co-author Mark LaBelle, MD, University Hospitals Orthopedic Surgery.

The infection control program was piloted at two high schools and two colleges in Northeast Ohio, including Kent State University. Kent State Associate Athletic Director Trent Stratton said everything they do in their athletic training room revolves around the health and safety of student-athletes. "Even though we may think we're doing a good job keeping the facility clean, having the stats to support it is extremely beneficial. At the end of the day, an infection can destroy a season," he said.

Student-athletes are in close contact in the shared environment of an athletic training room, and in the presence of poor hygiene and contamination, can be exposed to a variety of germs that cause infection.

For the study, hand hygiene solutions (PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer and PURELL® Brand HEALTHY SOAP®) and a broad-spectrum one-step surface disinfectant spray (PURELL® Professional Surface Disinfectant) were strategically placed throughout the athletic training rooms. Providing proven products and directing proper placement alone resulted in over 60% reduction in total bacteria.

After implementing a comprehensive solution that includes disinfectant products, protocols and educational resources, the participating athletic training rooms experienced a 95% reduction in total bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, specifically MRSA and Vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE), which were found on 24% of surfaces in the training room at the beginning of the study, were eliminated by the end of the study. Additionally, influenza which was initially detected on 25% of the analyzed surfaces, such as front door handles, drawer handles, water bottle lids and water cooler nozzles, was eliminated on surfaces sampled after implementation of the program.

"This study shows that the combination of targeted cleaning, ideal product placement, and simple education plus tools, along with the trusted strength of PURELL products, can significantly reduce pathogens and the risk of infection among athletes and staff," said Jim Arbogast, Ph.D., Vice President, Hygiene Sciences and Public Health Advancements, GOJO – inventor of PURELL® hand sanitizer. "Together, athletes, athletic trainers, athletic directors, and facility managers can sustain a safe environment, keeping athletes healthy and in the game. While this study looked at specific athletic training rooms, these same protocols can be applied beyond, into other areas of the athletic campus frequented by student-athletes, like locker rooms and weight rooms."

"This collaborative study between University Hospitals Sports Medicine and GOJO demonstrates how organizations committed to the health and safety of athletes can develop innovative, scientifically proven programs that can be practically applied to all sports and levels of competition, in particular close contact sports such as wrestling, hockey, gymnastics, soccer or football – where athletes experience greater incidence of infection," said James Voos, MD, lead physician for the Cleveland Browns and Division Chief, UH Sports Medicine.

For infection prevention resources, including athlete infection prevention and cleaning checklists for optimal protection, and sport-specific athlete education posters, visit GOJO.com/athletics. Read the full study online at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1941738119877865.

About University Hospitals / Cleveland, Ohio
Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 50 outpatient health centers and 200 physician offices in 16 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system's flagship academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, located on a 35-acre campus in Cleveland's University Circle, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The main campus also includes University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; University Hospitals MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and urology. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including "America's Best Hospitals" from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals – part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. UH is one of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio with 26,000 employees. UH's vision is "Advancing the science of health and the art of compassion," and its mission: "To Heal. To Teach. To Discover."  Follow UH on Facebook @UniversityHospitals and Twitter @UHhospitals. For more information, go to UHhospitals.org.

About GOJO
GOJO, the inventor of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, is a leading global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions for away-from-home settings. The broad GOJO product portfolio includes hand cleaning, handwashing, hand sanitizing, skin care formulas, and surface sprays under the GOJO®, PURELL®, and PROVON® brand names. GOJO formulations use the latest advances in the science of skin care and sustainability. GOJO is known for state-of-the-art dispensing technology, engineered with attention to design, sustainability, and functionality. GOJO programs promote healthy behaviors for hygiene, skin care, and compliance in critical environments. GOJO is a family enterprise headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with operations in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. Learn more about GOJO.

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SOURCE GOJO; University Hospitals