Researchers from Texas A&M University said that poorly maintained whirlpool bath tubs both private and public serve as breeding grounds for potentially lethal bacterial strains. They tested 43 water samples and found all of them had some kind of microbial growth.
Various Bacterial strains especially those found in feces contributed about 95% of the samples, while 81% had fungi and 34% contained potentially deadly staphylococcus bacteria.
Dr Rita Moyes said that the occurrence of these bacteria could be attributed to the improper maintaining and cleaning of the pipelines. Air and water in these pipes tends to get trapped, often for long periods of time and when the jets are switched on, this water with harmful bacteria gets blown into the tub.
Dr Moyes said that a teaspoon of normal tap water contains about 138 bacteria on the other hand a teaspoon of whirlpool tub water contains an average of 2.17 million bacteria.
These could result in numerous diseases such as urinary tract infections, septicaemia, pneumonia and several types of skin infections. Due to the whirlpool action these microbes are forced into the lungs, or open cuts.
Dr Moyes also said that the best way to prevent such bacteria from forming is to clean out the pipes. Other effective ways to prevent the growth of bacteria in whirlpool bathtubs have to be identified through new cleaning methods and new technology in tub design.
Dr John Lee, of the Health Protection Agency, added that people should be aware of the need for regular cleaning in their houses to prevent infection.