20 Alhambra High football players diagnosed with skin infection; first game postponed

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The first football game of the season for two Phoenix high schools has been postponed in an effort to stop the spread of a highly contagious skin infection.

As many as 20 players on the Alhambra High School football team have been diagnosed with impetigo, the Phoenix Union High School District announced Wednesday.

Impetigo is a common skin infection that can be cured with antibiotics, usually in about a week, but the rashes and blisters are highly contagious. Rashes have been showing up on players' elbows and forearms, said Craig Pletenik, a spokesman for Phoenix Union High School District.

Alhambra was scheduled to play North High School in the season opener. The game has been rescheduled for Oct. 13.

“We have made this decision in the best interest of our student-athletes and to prevent any further threat of exposure to the Alhambra, and North student bodies,” said District Athletic Director Dr. Zachary Muñoz.

All players on Alhambra's football team are now being checked daily for symptoms by athletic trainers and the school nurse.

The football team practiced after school Wednesday, but infected players sat out. Players with the infection will not be allowed to participate in sports until they recover, Pletenik said.

The rash started appearing last week. Last weekend, school staff began disinfecting and sanitizing the locker room, weight room, classrooms and common areas that may have been exposed to the bacteria, Pletenik said.

Impetigo is usually spread by skin-to-skin contact but it can also be spread when individuals share towels, said Dr. Karem Colindres of Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.

Alhambra is slated to host Carl Hayden next week.

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