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UK scientists find antibiotic resistant bacteria in surfers

Good surf, bad bacteria © Surfers Against Sewage



Water Safety

Surfers amongst those likely exposed to waterborne antibiotic resistant bacteria

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 March, 2015 - England - In a report published last week, scientists have found that individuals participating in over 6.3 million visits to the ocean—wether surfing, swimming, etc.—were exposed to one type of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The test, which was done in various areas around England and Wales, is the first of its kind. Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School tested the volume of water people ingested while participating in typical ocean watersports, and compared this with water samples taken at those areas, which resulted in an estimated likelihood of bacterial ingestion. 

The report focused on Escherichia coli (E. colo), with a more focused interest in bacterias resistant to antibiotics. 

In a report from Surfers Against Sewage, the study's lead microbiologist, Dr. William Gaze, had this to say: 

"We know very little about how the natural environment can spread antibiotic resistant bacteria to humans, or how our exposure to these microbes can affect health. People are exposed to antibiotic resistant bacteria in many ways, through person to person contact, via food and as a result of international travel. Our research establishes recreational use of coastal waters as an additional route of exposure. With millions of people visiting beaches in England and Wales each year, there is a risk of people ingesting 3GC resistant E. coli, and it looks like water-users’ exposure to all resistant bacteria could be even higher.”

You can read the full report here. 


Ashton Goggans

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