Worldwide Medical Insurance News: Beaches 'host infectious diseases'
International travel insurance could be required for a trip to the beach, following research that has shown sand has the potential to harbour dangerous microbes.
The study, which was published in Environmental Science & Technology - the journal for the American Chemical Society - was undertaken by experts at Northern Illinois University and the University of Miami (UM).
It found common sources of bacteria along shorelines are birds, cats and dogs.
Certain microorganisms found at these locations can result in gastrointestinal illnesses, first author of the research and assistant professor in the Public Health Program and Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability & Energy at Northern Illinois University Tomoyuki Shibata said.
The specialists therefore developed a guideline system that could help authorities determine how harmful a particular beach is.
Principal investigator for the project and professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the UM College of Engineering explained there is a significant difference in the atmospheres of the sea and the sand, noting this impacts the types of bacteria that thrive in these places.
Microbes on the beach will have a level of protection from solar radiation that those in the sea do not, while they also may be able to avoid being destroyed by water-based predators, she remarked.
Mr Shibata stated: "Parents of young children don't need to overreact to our findings and they can reduce their child's infectious risk by basic hygiene practices such as hand washing before eating or drinking and taking a shower."
The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends people avoid putting their head under the water when wading or swimming to avoid coming into contact with infectious diseases.
Individuals ought to be aware of the danger of illnesses when visiting beaches near to discharge pipes or urban locations and will be safer travelling to those with good water circulation and in less developed places, the government body asserted.
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