Herpes Outbreak Stalls High School Wrestling
The Associated Press is reporting today that high school wrestling programs in Minnesota have been suspended due to a herpes outbreak among the athletes.
The infection herpes gladiotorum is caused by the herpes simplex virus and typically causes a rash to occur on the face, neck, shoulders and arms for a period of 10 to 14 days, says The Star Tribune. Currently 2.6 percent of all high school wrestlers are pinned by the virus.
The virus is nicknamed "mat herpes" as it is most commonly found in wrestlers and athletes of other sports that involve high levels of skin-to-skin contact. Treatments for the virus include prescription drugs Zovirax and Valtrex.
The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that 7,500 wrestlers on 262 teams are affected by the suspension. 24 cases of the virus have been reported so far.
Though herpes lasts forever, the suspension ends February 6, which allows enough time for currently affected wrestlers to recover from their symptoms. Athletes still showing symptoms of the virus at the time of the state tournament, which is set to occur February 28-March 3, will not be eligible to compete.
This is the first time in history that Minnesota high school wrestling has been suspended due to a viral outbreak. Though sentiments have been mixed, some coaches feel that a suspension now is much less troublesome than a post-season interruption.