The bacterial version of Jaws may be waiting for you at your next beach vacation. A University of Miami study of America’s oceans and shores has found that the life-threatening, drug-resistant form of staph bacteria called MRSA has now made its way from human beings into both seawater and the sand. Even at a South Florida beach with no sewage plants nearby, scientists found that 3 percent of water samples contained MRSA. The finding indicates that the deadly germ got into the water by way of the bathers themselves. “This constitutes a risk to anyone who goes to the beach,” researcher Dr. Lisa Plano tells LiveScience. Most healthy people will not get an infection from contact with bacteria in seawater, she says, but she advises that beachgoers shower both before and after they go swimming. If you have an open wound, she says, you shouldn’t go into the ocean or a swimming pool.
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