Mouth guard transmits disease in two football players

Possible disease transmission by contaminated mouth guards in two young football players.

ABSTRACT: Previous studies have demonstrated that athletic mouth guards worn by ice hockey and football players harbor large numbers of bacteria, yeasts, and molds, some of which are either opportunistic or frank pathogens. This article details the clinical history of two junior high school football players. The first player had cellulitis of the leg after a non-break injury. The same unusual bacterium was isolated from both the athletic mouth guard and abscess cultures from the wound. The second patient suffered an attack of exercise-induced asthma so severe that his inhaler could not control the symptoms enough for him to resume play. This child’s mouthguard was contaminated with five different species of mold. The clinical implications of mouth guard contamination, possible avenues of disease transmission, and recommendations for mouth guard care are discussed.

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