Saturday, May 27, 2006

Divers carry pathogens in their wetsuits

Scuba divers could inadvertently be carrying coral disease from one reef to another, say scientists who have shown that bugs stick to wetsuits like glue. But a quick rinse in disinfectant can stop the spread.

Around 60% of the world's corals are thought to be under threat from warming seas, overfishing, pollution and coral diseases. Researchers have wondered whether ocean-hopping divers are playing a part by shipping disease-causing bacteria from an infected spot to a pristine one.

Diver and microbiologist Kay Marano-Briggs of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, decided to investigate.

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