Passing the ball may pass germs: study

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Irvine, CA – Basketballs and volleyballs can spread a germ that causes staph infections, according to a study from the University of California, Irvine.

Researchers took samples from players’ hands, the two types of balls and the gym floor before and after participants dribbled and passed the balls in a pattern designed to simulate game play. Surfaces that had been sterilized were found to have accumulated Staphylococcus aureus after the game play, and the bacteria survived on the sports ball for up to 72 hours, according to a press release.

One particularly dangerous type of infection is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, because it does not respond to antibiotics.

The study was conducted by undergraduate students and presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in May.