Title

High Numbers of Staphylococcus aureus at Three Bathing Beaches in South Florida

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Publication Title

International Journal of Environmental Health Research

Keywords

Staphylococci, Staphylococcus aureus, Beach sand, Seawater, Beach use, Spatial distribution

ISSN

0960-3123

Volume

23

Issue/No.

1

First Page

46

Last Page

57

Abstract

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.

Comments

©2013 Taylor & Francis

DOI

10.1080/09603123.2012.699027

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Peer Reviewed

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