Staph Infections Prompt Closure of Peterson Gymnastics Center on NW Side

The Chicago Park District closed a Northwest Side gymnastics facility Tuesday after three reports of staph infections in the building.

The Peterson Gymnastics Center, 5801 N. Pulaski Road, was closed Sept. 24 and all classes were “canceled until further notice,” according to an alert from the Chicago Park District on the facility’s website.

The park district is aware of cases of staph infections involving three students, spokeswoman Irene Tostado said in an email.

“All mats with a breach were disposed of out of an abundance of caution,” Tostado said. “We are following all CDC/ infection control guidelines. The Gymnastics Center will replace equipment and undergo a deep clean by an environmental cleaning company.”

The facility will remain closed at least until Oct. 1, Tostado said.

According to Dr. Tina Tan, an infectious diseases specialist, antibiotics can help people get over a staph infection, but the rapid speed with which the disease can worsen can cause major concerns. 

"In the past, there have been Major League Baseball and NFL teams that have had this occur, and they've had to shut down their facilities and disinfect them," she said. 

Dr. Tan recommends that anyone who came into contact with equipment at the affected facility should keep an eye out for boils or painful red spots on the skin. She also recommends that athletes wash their hands regularly after using gym equipment or mats. 

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