The infection that ended Giants tight end Daniel Fells' season is MRSA, a form of staph that is resistant to penicillin-type antibiotics, according to a source familiar with the situation. MRSA can create life-threatening situations.
Fells remains hospitalized, and the Giants expect him to recover with treatment. No other Giants players have exhibited any symptoms of the bacteria, the source said. The Giants have taken precautions against the potential spread of the highly contagious disease by scrubbing and disinfecting locker rooms, training rooms and meeting rooms.
In a statement, the team said: "We are working with infectious disease specialists, and we have defined protocols that we are following in consultation with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network and local infectious disease specialists.''
The NFL has a standardized infectious disease response program administered by DICON, which the league and the NFLPA implemented following three cases of MRSA on the Bucs' roster in 2014.
According to Healthline.com, "MRSA is spread by coming in contact with an infected person or by exposure to a MRSA-contaminated object or surface that an infected person touches."
The Giants placed Fells on season-ending injured reserve Monday with what they called a staph infection. (MRSA is a form of staph.)
"It was very unfortunate with Daniel," Tom Coughlin said Monday. "It went from early in the week being a junky ankle to a serious situation. He's just looking forward to getting things under control so he can get out of the hospital."
Players were allowed in the team's facility Tuesday. According to one player who came in on the day off, there was no sign of any disruption to normal procedures. "It really didn't affect me at all," he said of going through his usual Tuesday routine of watching video, a light workout and soaking in a tub in the training room.
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, may "appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that might be red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch . . . accompanied by fever," according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC's website states that "most surfaces do not pose a risk of spreading MRSA" but recommends precautions such as using a towel or clothing between your skin and a surface, showering immediately after activities in which you have direct skin contact with people or shared surfaces, cleaning your hands regularly and keeping cuts and scrapes clean and covered with bandages.
Several NFL teams have had difficulty eradicating MRSA in the past decade, including Washington, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. Former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes' career ended and he became seriously ill because of a MRSA infection he acquired while with the Bucs.
Tynes was one of three Bucs, along with guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Johnathan Banks, diagnosed with MRSA last season. Tynes sued the Bucs, claiming the team failed to use sterilizing techniques and did not properly clean training equipment.
Nicks has not played since being diagnosed. Banks has played three games for the Bucs this season.