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Science / Medicine : Herpes Warning to Wrestlers

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Wrestlers should be checked for skin sores before tournaments because of the risk that they will spread herpes infections during their grappling, health officials warned last week. In the New England Journal of Medicine, physicians from the Minnesota Department of Health described an outbreak of herpes--which they called Herpes gladiatorum-- at a high school wrestling camp two years ago. One-third of the boys came down with herpes rashes during the four-week camp.

Herpes gladiatorum is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1, the same virus responsible for cold sores. Rather than being confined to the lips, however, the sores are scattered over the face, chest, arms and legs and are spread by skin-to-skin contact.

“The key to minimizing this infection is early recognition and removal of infected wrestlers from competition and practice,” said Dr. Edward A. Belongia of the Minnesota Department of Health, who investigated the outbreak.


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