Health + Safety

CDC: Fecal Germs Prevelant in Public Pools

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public pools

There’s poop in public pools, according to a new report.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found genetic material from E. coli bacteria in 58 percent of public pools they tested during the summer of 2012.

This shows that “swimmers frequently introduced fecal material into pools,” which could spread germs to other people, the researchers wrote in their report. E. coli bacteria are normally found in the human gut and feces.

They also found genetic material from bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, whichcan cause skin rashes and ear infections, in 59 percent of pools.

The fecal material in pools comes from swimmers not showering before getting into the water, and from incidents of defecation in pools, according to the report. The average person has 0.14 grams of fecal material on their “perianal surface” that can rinse into a pool if a person doesn’t shower first, according to the report.

The Pseudomonas aeruginosabacteria in the pools may have come from the natural environment, or from swimmers, the researchers said.

There were no samples that showed E. coli O157:H7, a toxin-producing E. coli strain that causes illness.

Two parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, which also spread through feces and cause diarrhea, were found in less than 2 percent of samples.

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