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S. J. Sousa, L. A. Marcomini; Presence of Acanthamoeba in the Conjunctival Sac of Healthy Indoor Swimmers. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):855.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To determine if indoor swimming pools can be source of contamination of the conjunctival sac of healthy swimmers.
This two-part experiment was implemented in two distinct indoor heated pools of two athletic facilities. The pool identified as "A" was 33-years-old. The other, identified as "B", was 5-years-old. All the participants had no ocular surface disease, did not wear contact lenses and used the pools from the start to the end of the testing. In the first part of the experiment we collected material scraped from the superior tarsal conjunctiva of 30 swimmers and 13 non-swimmers of the facility A and of 11 swimmers of the facility B. Concomitantly, we collected 2 daily samples (morning and evening) of the water of each pool during 7 consecutive days. Once finished this part of the experiment the floor and the walls of swimming pool A was thoroughly cleaned and refilled with new water. Three months latter we proceeded with the second part of the experiment, repeating the scrapings of the conjunctiva of the same swimmers. We also collected 2 daily samples of the water of each pool during 7 consecutive days. The collected materials were cultured into non nutrient agar with an Escherichia coli overlay and daily probed for cysts of acanthoameba during 15 days.
In the first part of the experiment, 77% (23) of the scrapes of the swimmers of the pool A were positive for acanthamoeba. The scrapes of non swimmers of facility A and of swimmers of the pool B were negative. Around 86% (12) of the water samples of pool A and 36% (5) of the pool B were positive, a difference statistically significant (Fisher`s exact=0,018). After the cleaning of the pool A, the percentage of contamination for both pools equalized at 14% and the percentage of positivity of the swimmers of the pool A plummeted to 6% (2 cases).The scrapes of the swimmers of the pool B continued negative. The decrease in the percentage of contamination of the pool A and of its swimmers after the cleaning process was statistically significant (MacNemar = 0.0067 and 0.0001).
Indoor swimming pools can be source of contamination of the conjunctival sac of healthy swimmers. The chance of contamination seems to depend on the level of contamination of the pool. The percentage of contamination among the swimmers tends to decrease spontaneously with the improvement of hygienic conditions of the pool.
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