One position you wouldn't expect to find on an NFL team is an infectious disease specialist. But, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are working with one, to deal with something that's now affected three players: MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. What that means is that it's hard to cure because regular antibiotics don't faze it.
MRSA is a nasty little bacterium that might look like a pimple or spider bite on someone infected.
Three players in Tampa Bay have been diagnosed with a MRSA infection. They are cornerback Jonathan Banks, guard Carl Nicks, and kicker Lawrence Tynes.
Officials don't know yet how the players contracted MRSA, but one way it can spread is through skin-to-skin contact.
People can also get it when they touch something with the bacteria on it. That's more likely in places with shared equipment, like hospitals, gyms, and locker rooms.
Depending on the severity of the infection, it is possible to continue playing after being treated, which Carl Nicks did that before his infection recurred.
MRSA is not necessarily life-threatening if treated, and the NFL has dealt with dozens of cases before.
Ways to prevent MRSA's spread include:
As for the Bucs, they've had their locker room sanitized and they say they'll do everything they can to stop MRSA from spreading any further.
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