Going Surfing? You Might Be Getting (and Spreading) E. Coli

A surfer surfing his home break at Porthleven Beach. This location on the south coast offers perfect barrelling waves on the right conditions against a traditional Cornish coastal backdrop of cliffs and a fishing village.
 VisitBritain / Britain On View / Getty

British surfers need to keep their mouths shut.

A study published in Environment International investigated how surfers and non-surfers weathered exposure to E.coli strains found in the seawater off the coasts of Wales and England. The research found that those who surfed were three times as likely to have contracted a strain of antibiotic-resistant E. coli. A total of 9 of the143 surfers analyzed for the study had the antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) as compared to only two of the 130 non-surfers who were found housing the bacteria.

The study found that those surfing in these beach waters were more likely to ingest the E. coli ARB (which, you know, makes sense), and added that the way people are acquiring the bacteria needs further study to figure out how to prevent its spread. According to researchers, this was the first study of its kind to look at “ARB in bathing waters, human exposure estimates and association between exposure and colonization by ARB in water users.”

Read the entire article here.