HENRICO, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health provided cleaning guidelines after several cases of bacterial infection were reported at the University of Richmond Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness.
There were two spikes in student health concerns in November, according to university officials.
The Student Health Center saw an increase in the number of students suffering from the adenovirus, a respiratory illness.
As a result, the university sent an e-mail to students advising them of increased reporting levels and urging them to follow routine procedures to reduce their exposure to the virus.
In the second instance, a number of students manifesting soft tissue infection associated with MRSA, prompted officials to notify the Virginia Department of Health.
The VDH subsequently did a test of the student wellness center and found several incidents of elevated levels of bacteria on exercise equipment.
“The VDH provided recommendations for environmental cleaning and infection control, which we have implemented, along with greater enforcement of our regular cleaning practices and protocols,” said Cynthia Price, Director of Media and Public Relations.
“At this time, we are not treating any students manifesting symptoms related to adenovirus or MRSA,” she added.
According to the letter sent by the VDH, the equipment with the highest levels of contamination were the dumbbells with ridged handles, the exercise and yoga mats, and exercise balls.
An excerpt of the VDH report:
“It is likely that dumbbells are not cleaned routinely by staff or users. Among the dumbbells tested, those with a ridged grip handle had higher readings than those with a metal
or smooth handle. It is important when cleaning these items to thoroughly clean the hand grips. Furthermore, it also seems that mats and exercise balls are not cleaned frequently enough by staff or users.”
The VDH recommended making sure that cleaning supplies are available in all areas of the gym and making sure that employees use products appropriately and for the correct length of time to kill bacteria.