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N.Z. Gregori, H.P. Fechter, D. Miller, E. Perez, M. Diaz; A Comparison of Bacteria Present in South Florida Ocean and Pool Water with Known Ocular Pathogens . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):1428.
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Purpose: To determine which ocular pathogens are present in South Florida pool and ocean water. Methods: Twelve ocean sites and 35 pools were cultured. Identified bacteria were compared to the list of ocular pathogens isolated at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Results: Twenty three different organisms were isolated from the ocean samples and 10 organisms from the pool samples. A higher concentration of most organisms was found in the ocean water. The Bascom Palmer microbiology lab tabulated a list of all culture-positive isolates recovered from infected eyes since 1997. Nearly a quarter of these isolates were also found in our water samples. The majority of water bacteria were infrequent on this list. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis were responsible for the majority of these eye infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was isolated from 2 out 12 oceans and 3 out of 35 pools. A single pool and no ocean samples contained Staphylococcus epidermidis. Rapidly growing Mycobacteria species were isolated from 16 out of 35 pools and none of the ocean samples. These species are among the most common pathogens seen in the LASIK flap and scleral buckle infections cultured at Bascom Palmer. Conclusions: Ocular pathogenic bacteria are found in both pool and ocean water of South Florida. The ocean water contains more species and a higher concentration of organisms. However, the Mycobacteria species responsible for the majority of LASIK flap and scleral buckle infectoins were present in half of the pool samples and no ocean samples. This data supports the usual recommendation that LASIK and other ocular surgery patients should avoid swimming during the immediate post-operative period, even in chlorinated pools.
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