Strange Science: Superbugs and Surfers

Surfer at the Cayucos Pier, CaliforniaScientist studying bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics have focused their attention on new test subjects–the digestive tract and rectums of surfers.

Because antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often found in ocean water (a result of wastewater being discharged into large natural bodies of water), and because surfers swallow a large amount of ocean water, their digestive tract is a prime location for studying the effects of “superbugs” on humans.

While the study referenced in the Huffington Post in 2015 is specific to the waters surrounding the British Isles, the goal of the study was to see if surfers’ gut bacteria contains more superbugs than the average non-surfer. If so, the scientist believed they can make a strong argument for greater controls on what sorts of water are discharged into the ocean.

A follow-up article in 2018 indicates that the scientists’ hypothesis was correct.

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