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Mud-wrestling can get under your skin.

Future Mud-Wrestlers of America, take heed: Your chosen sport puts you at high risk of developing the unsightly ravages of dermatitis palaestrae limosae, loosely translated into layman's terms as "mud-wrestler's rash."

Two physicians at the University of Washington in Seattle have identified this new disease among participants in a "mud-wrestling social event" that took place at the university last spring. Student health center doctors Amanda I. Adler and Jeff Altman uncovered an outbreak of the disease when seven mud-wrestlers showed up the day following the event complaining of an itchy, pus-containing rash on their arms and legs. All of the students - six women and one man - had mud-wrestled wearing either a bathing suit or shorts and a T-shirt.

Adler and Altman found that pus taken from the students' rashes contained fecal bacteria that had presumably penetrated their skin through hair follicles. The researchers isolated similar bacteria from samples of the commercially available topsoil the students had used to make the mud.

By questioning the residents of two dormitories who had attended the mud-wrestling event, Adler and Altman calculated that the 26 wrestlers were 80 times more likely to have developed the rash than another 27 students who had only watched the spectacle. They suggest that more female than male mud-wrestlers developed rashes because all of the women shaved their legs, which could have rendered hair follicles there more vulnerable to infection.

"We suggest that health care providers consider eliciting a history of mud-wrestling from those diagnosed with [pus-containing] rashes," Adler and Altman write in the Jan. 27 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION. "Further, we would like to alert those who mud-wrestle -- either recreationally or occupationally - to a potential risk."
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Title Annotation:mud wrestlers risk developing dermatitis palaestrae limosae
Author:Fackelmann, Kathy A.
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 30, 1993
Words:280
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