Epidemiologists have observed an increased risk of skin infection after beachgoers swim in the ocean. A recent paper published in Environmental Research could explain why; the answer lies in the skin microbiome.
Here, 16S rRNA gene and shotgun metagenomic sequencing were used to analyze the skin pre- and post-swimming. Results detected an increase in antibiotic resistance and virulence genes on the skin after ocean water exposure that persisted for several hours. Researchers reported exogenous bacteria from the ocean were the source.
According to the article abstract, these observations support the claim of increased risk for infection after swimming in the ocean. The authors propose washing the skin immediately after ocean activities to reduce the chance of infection.
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