If you want to have a clean and uncontaminated beach bath, them steer clear of US beaches, a public health expert has warned.
Thaddeus Graczyk at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, says that current testing practices by Health Inspectors are 'seriously flawed,' as most of the beaches in the US are a shelter for a host of pathogens that have come from human faeces.
Graczyk and colleagues sampled water from Maryland's beaches on Wednesdays and Sundays for 11 consecutive weeks during the summer of 2006.
They tested for Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia, protozoans in human faeces that can cause severe, and sometimes fatal, gastrointestinal problems.
The pathogens lurked in 30 per cent of samples midweek, but in almost 60 per cent at weekends, levels strongly associated with the number of bathers in the water.Graczyk called for a proper testing of water, especially when the number of people are higher.
'The water should be tested when the numbers of people are higher. A lot of beaches would be closed if they tested on weekends,' New Scientist.com quoted Graczyk, as saying.
Gracyzk believes bathers stir up sediment that already contains the microbes, which enter recreational waters primarily through human faeces, either directly, through sewage or from surface run-off after heavy rains.Gracyzk will present his findings next month in Philadelphia at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting.