Introduction: Acquisition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is a marker of poor survival. PA is a ubiquitous pathogen prevalent in humid conditions. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of PA in public swimming pools, as well as from water taps.
Methods: Water was collected from public indoor and outdoor pools in the area of St. Gallen, Switzerland. In addition, standing and running water was sampled from bathroom water taps of 50 patients with CF.
Results: Outdoor pools: In 2002, none of the 72 specimens from 28 pools revealed PA. In 2003, three specimens from 46 pools (7%) revealed PA, each were from a different paddling pool. Indoor pools: two of 128 specimens from 56 pools (4%) identified PA, both were from non-public hydrotherapy pools. Water taps: in winter, none of the 102 specimens was colonized with PA. in summer, only two out of 50 specimens of the standing water were positive for PA but none of the running water revealed PA.
Conclusion: The prevalence of PA in public swimming pools and bathroom water taps in the eastern part of Switzerland is very low. On hot summer days, outdoor paddling pools and standing tap water can contain PA. This study does not support recommendations to avoid public swimming pools or running tap water if the water is maintained according to hygiene guidelines.