Why we can’t go back to bath mats again
As many as 10 million people worldwide are facing the prospect of bathing in water contaminated with bacteria.
This is the worst outbreak of waterborne illness in recorded history and has been linked to contaminated drinking water.
But what’s worse is that the bacteria may be more easily transmitted than previously thought, with experts worried that the new research could make people more vulnerable to becoming ill.
“It’s a major public health issue,” says Professor David Skelton, a microbiologist at the University of Cambridge and the chief scientist at the US-based National Institutes of Health.
This means we need to start with better hygiene.
We’re also looking at ways to protect ourselves from the bacteria more effectively, he adds.
What is the bacteria in the water?
Scientists are starting to look at the water in which people bathe.
Water samples collected from the San Francisco Bay were analysed by researchers at the UK’s University of Bath and found to be more contaminated than those taken from Lake Tahoe, which has been the epicentre of the outbreak.
Dr Skelson says it’s important to start from a clean start.
For example, people should wash their hands frequently, as well as taking regular showers.
The team behind the new study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, found that bathing in clean water is crucial to reducing the risk of becoming sick.
There are several possible ways to reduce the risk: wash your hands frequently