Microbiological investigations of two thermal baths in Budapest, Hungary. Report: effect of bathing and pool operation type on water quality

J Water Health. 2020 Dec;18(6):1020-1032. doi: 10.2166/wh.2020.027.


In Hungary, which is famous for its thermal baths, according to the regulations, waters are investigated in hygienic aspects with standard cultivation methods. In the present study, two thermal baths were investigated (the well and three different pool waters in both) using cultivation methods, taxon-specific polymerase chain reactions (PCRs), multiplex PCRs and next-generation amplicon sequencing. Mainly members of the natural microbial community of the well waters and bacteria originating from the environment were detected but several opportunistic pathogenic taxa, e.g., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, P. stutzeri, Acinetobacter johnsoni, Acinetobacter baumanni, Moraxella osloensis, Microbacterium paraoxydans, Legionella spp., Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Staphylococcus aureus were revealed by the applied methods. Pools with charging-unloading operation had higher microscopic cell counts, colony-forming unit (CFU) counts, number of cocci, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus compared to the recirculation systems. Bacteria originating from human sources (e.g., skin) were identified in the pool waters with less than 1% relative abundance, and their presence was sporadic in the pools. Comparing the microbiological quality of the pools based on the first sampling time and the following four months' period it was revealed that recirculation operation type has better water quality than the charging-unloading pool operation from a hygienic point of view.

MeSH terms

  • Baths*
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Moraxella
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Quality*

Supplementary concepts

  • Moraxella osloensis