Navigation Links
Study suggests swimmers at sub-tropical beaches show increased risk of illness

MIAMI July 28, 2010 A yearlong beach study led by a team of University of Miami researchers suggests that swimmers at sub-tropical beaches face an increased risk of illness. The multi-disciplinary team examined the risk of illness that beachgoers face when exposed to recreational marine water at sub-tropical beaches with no known source of pollution or contamination.

B.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Beach Environmental Assessment and Characterization Human Exposure Study) enlisted more than 1,300 volunteers, all local residents who regularly use South Florida beaches. Researchers divided study participants into two groups: volunteers who went into the water and those instructed to stay out of the water. The group that went in the water was asked to dunk themselves completely in the water three times over a fifteen-minute period. A few days later both sets of participants received follow-up calls from researchers, checking on their health and well being.

"We found that when swimming in sub-tropical beach areas with no known pollution or contamination from sewage or runoff, you still have a chance of being exposed to the kind of microbes that can make you sick," said Dr. Lora Fleming, co-director of the Center for Oceans and Human Health (OHH) and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Miami, who directed the study, the first large epidemiologic survey of its kind. "This information is especially important to take into account for children and the elderly, or if you have a compromised immune system and are planning a beach outing."

The study found that the swimmers were 1.76 times more likely to report a gastrointestinal illness, and 4.46 times more likely to report having a fever or respiratory illness. Swimmers in the study were also nearly six times more likely to report a skin illness than those volunteers who stayed out of the water.

"While people shouldn't avoid our beautiful beaches which are regularly monitored for water quality safety, we recommend taking simple precautions to reduce the risk of microbes so your visit to the beach can be more enjoyable," said Dr. Samir Elmir, environmental administrator with the Miami Dade County Health Department.

Among the top tips from the scientists for a healthy visit to the beach this summer are:

  • Avoiding getting beach water in your mouth, or swallowing seawater.
  • Practicing good beach hygiene by not swimming when ill with flu-like symptoms, diarrhea or open wounds.
  • Showering before entering the ocean and immediately after leaving the water.
  • Washing your hands with soap before eating.
  • Taking small children to the restroom frequently, while on a public beach.

(For more tips, please visit the CDC's guide to preventing recreational water illnesses,

"Very few studies have been conducted in warm sub-tropical waters such as those found in South Florida. The persistence of microbes can be linked to water temperature, and other environmental factors including sunlight, rainfall, currents, and wave conditions. Moving forward we will use the information we have gathered through B.E.A.C.H.E.S. to help us to better understand these factors, and develop better predictive tools for establishing beach closures," added Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UM.


Contact: Barbra Gonzalez, UM Rosenstiel School
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon ... Genomics for U.S. distribution of its DNA library ... kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX ... enable the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid ... for diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , October 27, 2015 ... Semantic Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from ... Tracking Glasses , so that they can be ... --> Munich, Germany , October 28-29, ... maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created with ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... global voice recognition biometrics market to grow at a ... --> --> The report, Global Voice ... an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- HUYA Bioscience International, the leader in accelerating global development ... announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ... between KDDF and HUYA with the ultimate goal of ... the global market. China,s ... preclinical and clinical stage compounds. The company advances the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Jose, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Content Intelligence Company, today announced tighter software integration with MarkLogic, the Enterprise ... where organizations maximize information to drive change. , Smartlogic’s Content Intelligence capabilities ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... November 27, 2015 ... popularity of companion diagnostics is one of ... market with pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic manufacturers ... tests. . --> ... report on global cancer biomarkers market spread ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... BRUSSELS , November 25, 2015 ... la première fois les différences entre les souches ... de celles des êtres humains . Ces ... comprendre et envisager la prise en charge efficace de ... ent diagnostiqués chez les chats .    --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: