High Numbers of Staphylococcus aureus at Three Bathing Beaches in South Florida
International Journal of Environmental Health Research
Staphylococci, Staphylococcus aureus, Beach sand, Seawater, Beach use, Spatial distribution
While the value of Staphylococcus aureus as an indicator for non-enteric diseases is unclear, understanding its prevalence in recreational beaches would prove useful, given its pathogenic potential. Staphylococcus aureus levels were evaluated in sand and seawater at three beaches during one year. To elucidate possible S. aureussources or colonization trends, distribution in sand was analyzed at Hollywood Beach. Staphylococcus aureus levels fluctuated throughout the study with highest average densities detected in dry sand (3.46 × 105 CFU/g, Hobie Beach), particularly at beaches with high human density. Patchy distribution marked hotspots of human use and/or possible bacterial re-growth. Data from a brief epidemiological survey indicated a very slight association between beach usage and skin conditions; suggesting high S. aureus levels in sand may not necessarily constitute major health risks. Because the possibility of disease transmission exists, particularly to children and immuno-compromised beach-goers, periodic surveying of highly frequented beaches seems warranted.
Nwadiuto Esiobu, Melissa Green, Andrea Echeverry, Tonya Davidian Bonilla, Corine Melanie Stinson, Aaron Hartz, Andrew Rogerson, and Donald S. McCorquodale Jr.. 2013. High Numbers of Staphylococcus aureus at Three Bathing Beaches in South Florida .International Journal of Environmental Health Research , (1) : 46 -57. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/668.