Swimming in the ocean alters the microbial of the skin and may increase the likelihood of infection, according to a study presented at ASM Microbe 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology. "Our data shows for the first time that Ocean Water Exposure can change the variety and composition of the human skin microbial," said Marissa Chatman Nielsen, MS, PhD student at the University of California, Irvine, lead author of the study. While swimming, normal resident bacteria are washed while the ocean bacteria are deposited on the skin. "
Researchers have discovered ocean bacteria for all participants after air drying and six and 24 hours after swimming but some participants have acquired more oceanic bacteria
The study is motivated by previous studies that show associations between ocean swimming and infections , as well as the high prevalence of poor water quality on many beaches due to the drainage of waste water and rainwater. Recent studies have shown that changes in the microbe can leave the host susceptible to infection and affect disease states. Exposure to these waters can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, ear infections and skin infections
Researchers have sought 9 beach volunteers who meet the criteria for lack of sunscreen products, rare exposure to the ocean without bathing in the last 1
"One very interesting conclusion is that the species Vibrio species – only identified to the level of the genus – were discovered by each participant after swimming in the ocean and drying the air. Nielsen. ( The Vibrio genus includes the cholera bacterium.) Six hours after swimming, they were still present in most volunteers, but within 24 hours they were present in only one individual. Although many Vibrio are not pathogenic, the fact that we have restored them to the skin after swimming shows that the pathogenic species Vibrio can potentially retain the skin after swimming, "Nielsen said. The Vibrio fraction found on human skin is more than 10 times larger than the fraction in the ocean water sample, suggesting a specific affinity for attaching to human skin.
Skin is the body's first line of protection, both physically and immunologically, during exposure to contaminated water. "Recent studies have shown that human skin microbial plays an important role in the function of the immune system, localized and systemic illnesses and infections," Nielsen said. "A healthy microbe protects the host from colonization and infection by opportunistic and pathogenic microbes."