HOW DOES THE BODY PROTECT ITSELF? The human immune system is a network of immune cells produced in the bone marrow from stem cells. The immune cells circulate through the body in the blood, or are stored in the lymph nodes located at various spots in the body. Some immune cells are more general, patrolling the body and clearing away dead cells, viruses and bacteria. Other cells are activated only by a single substance (called an antigen), such as a particular protein on the surface of the virus. These are called T-cells. When T-cells detect the presence of an antigen, they multiply to combat the invading virus.
HOW A STAPH INFECTION SPREADS: In many cases, a staph infection (short for Staphylococcus, a type of bacteria) is spread through person-to-person contact, but sports surfaces also play a role in transmission. An infected player might think he only has a spider bite and will use a towel, treadmill, or whirlpool. The bacteria are transferred onto the surface and infects the next athlete to use the equipment, entering the body through a bruise or small cut. Staph bacteria can survive at least one day on all fabrics and plastics, as long as 56 days on polyester, and as long as 90 days on polyethylene plastic.
The the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and the Biophysical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report. This report has also been produced thanks to a generous grant from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.