Identification of bacteria in scuba divers' rinse tanks.

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Identification of bacteria in scuba divers' rinse tanks.

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Title: Identification of bacteria in scuba divers' rinse tanks.
Author: Washburn, BK; Levin, AE; Hennessy, K; Miller, MR
Abstract: Scuba divers typically rinse equipment in communal tanks. Studies show these tanks are contaminated with bacteria, but the types of bacteria have not been studied. We sought to identify bacteria in rinse tanks at a dive facility at San Pedro, Belize, to determine the origin of the bacteria and determine whether the bacteria represented potential threats to human health. The identity of bacteria was investigated using reverse line blot (RLB) assays based on 28 different rDNA probes designed to detect known pathogens of sepsis, as well as by sequencing 23S rDNA from isolates and performing VITEK identification of several isolates. Based on the identities of bacteria in divers' rinse tanks, many likely originate from the ocean, and others likely originate from the divers themselves. None of the bacteria identified would be considered overt human pathogens. However, some of the bacteria found in the tanks are known to be associated with unsanitary conditions and can cause opportunistic infections, which may pose health problems to some individuals. Rinsing scuba equipment in communal tanks has the potential to transmit disease among some divers. Equipment, especially regulators and masks, should be rinsed/cleaned individually and not be placed in communal tanks.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine : Journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/10297
Date: 2010

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