The mucus on your shower head is alive

The mucus on your shower head is alive

A study of bacterial slime in showerheads around the world has shown that US cities are hotspots for potentially harmful bacteria.

The researchers found that mycobacteria are the most common bacteria in shower heads.

They found that it is much more prevalent in the United States than in Europe, thriving in urban tap water rather than well water, and is particularly prevalent in geographic "hot spots" where certain types of lung diseases caused by mycobacteria are also common are.

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Boulder researchers found that mycobacteria are the most common bacteria in shower heads - but showering is still safe.

Boulder researchers found that mycobacteria are the most common bacteria in shower heads - but showering is still safe.

Boulder researchers found that mycobacteria are the most common bacteria in shower heads – but showering is still safe.

"In your shower head, a fascinating microbial world thrives, and you can be exposed every time you take a shower," said Noah Fierer of CU Boulder.

"Most of these microbes are harmless, but some are not, and this type of research helps us understand how our own actions – from the water treatment systems we use to the materials used in our plumbing work – can change their composition into microbial communities , & # 39;

The team analyzed the DNA of 656 household showers in the United States and 13 countries in Europe.

Citizen scientists dabbed the insides of their shower heads with special kits and sent the & # 39; biofilm & # 39; samples to Boulder.

WHAT ARE MYCOBACTERIA?

Mycobacteria are a family of small, rod-shaped bacilli that can be grouped into three main groups for the various diseases they cause.

1. Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, which can cause tuberculosis.

2. M. leprae and M. lepromatosis, which cause leprosy.

3. Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), which are all other mycobacteria that can cause lung disease that is reminiscent of tuberculosis, lymphadenitis, skin disease, or disseminated disease.

LUNG - BAD BACTERIA: A colored transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of a Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection in the human lung. MAC can cause fever, diarrhea and malabsorption as well as loss of appetite and weight loss. It can spread in the bone marrow

LUNG - BAD BACTERIA: A colored transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of a Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection in the human lung. MAC can cause fever, diarrhea and malabsorption as well as loss of appetite and weight loss. It can spread in the bone marrow

LUNG – BAD BACTERIA: A colored transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of a Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection in the human lung. MAC can cause fever, diarrhea and malabsorption as well as loss of appetite and weight loss. It can spread in the bone marrow

Using DNA sequencing technology, researchers were able to find out what types of bacteria lived in showerhead mucus and how abundant these were.

When the researchers discovered where potentially pathogenic mycobacteria thrive, maps of "hot spots" that fit roughly into regions where non-tuberculous mycobacterial lung disease (NTM) is most prevalent showed parts of southern California, Florida, and New York this showerhead bacteria in the transmission of diseases.

Mycobacteria were much more prevalent in showerheads receiving urban tap water than in well water and more frequently in US households than in European ones.

These patterns are likely due in part to differences in the use of chlorine disinfectants, the team reported this week in the journal mBio of the American Society for Microbiology.

Mycobacteria tend to be somewhat resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants, which are more difficult to use in the United States than in Europe. In Europe, other types of bacteria may be better able to thrive and displace the disease-causing strains.

The team analyzed the DNA of 656 household showers in the United States and 13 countries in Europe.

The team analyzed the DNA of 656 household showers in the United States and 13 countries in Europe.

The team analyzed the DNA of 656 household showers in the United States and 13 countries in Europe.

The showerhead material also seemed important, according to the team.

They found more mycobacteria in metal showerheads than in plastic, and some chemicals that support different bacterial communities may prevent the mycobacteria from becoming too common.

"In terms of what comes next, we hope to explore beyond identification and abundance, what causes this conspicuous geographic variation within the genus Mycobacterium, and what may be driving these hot spots," said Gebert.

"And do not worry," he added.

"There is definitely no reason to fear showering."

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