Officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are advising swimmers at public pools nationwide to be extra careful, after finding that nearly 60 percent of pools in the Atlanta area tested positive for traces of fecal matter.
CBS News reported on Thursday that the CDC found the bacteria Escherichia coli — commonly known as E. coli — in 58 percent of indoor and outdoor pools in and around the Georgia city.
Though commonly associated with food, E. coli can also enter a pool if a swimmer has a “fecal incident” or does not shower enough before going into the pool. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria associated with ear infections and “hot tub rash,” was found in 59 percent of test samples. Researchers said this could be a sign of natural pool contamination on top of bacteria introduced by swimmers.
Though the study did not cover private pools or water parks, officials warned that it is likely the risk of contamination is likely not any lower at those types of establishments.
The tests also found much smaller instances of two other bacteria, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, that are also spread via feces. Swallowing Cryptosporidium can lead to an infection and consequently vomiting, nausea and fever, among other symptoms.
[Image: “Cute Little Swimmer Courageously Overcoming Water Barrier” via Shutterstock]
[h/t New York Daily News]