Environmental Infection Risks for Outdoor Athletes
Infectious disease outbreaks related to outdoor sporting events are an underacknowledged environmental health risk. We reviewed documented instances of sporting events that led to outbreaks of illness due to interactions of athletes with environmental pathogen reservoirs such as soil or water. We note that aspects of outdoor athletic activities can mediate a suppression in immune function. The implications of this review are of particular interest to environmental health professionals and healthcare professionals, as they show that populations of young, otherwise healthy adult athletes and other members of their communities are a contextually at-risk group to be aware of in order to improve and speed ability to cluster individuals in outbreaks, and for diagnosis and prevention for individual patients. This review highlights an opportunity where environmental health professionals can provide a critical linkage between patients and the environment.
Published: October 2020
- Siddhi Ramesh, University of Pennsylvania
- Sunit P. Jariwala, MD, Division of Allergy & Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center
- David A. Hewitt, PhD, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania; Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia