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CDC: High Number of Public Pools Contain Microbes
Indicates a need for better swimmer hygiene and maintenance of public health standards

TUESDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Three-quarters of public schools in the metro Atlanta area contain microbes, including bacteria indicating the presence of fecal matter, according to research published in the May 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Christopher Hutcheson, from Cobb & Douglas Public Health in Marietta, Georgia, and colleagues used a quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay to measure microbial nucleic acid present in filter concentrate samples from 161 metro-Atlanta public pools from June to August 2012.

The researchers found that 75 percent of samples contained at least one of the seven microbial species assayed. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was detected in 59 percent of samples, Escherichia coli was detected in 58 percent of samples, and both were detected in 42 percent of samples. Giardia intestinalis was detected in two samples and Cryptosporidium spp were detected in one sample. E. coli O157:H7, norovirus GI, norovirus GII, and adenovirus were not detected in any samples.

"Although this study focused on microbial DNA in filters (not on illnesses), these findings indicate the need for swimmers to help prevent introduction of pathogens (e.g., taking a pre-swim shower and not swimming when ill with diarrhea), aquatics staff to maintain disinfectant level and pH according to public health standards to inactivate pathogens, and state and local environmental health specialists to enforce such standards," Hutcheson and colleagues conclude.

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