17 de ago. de 2011

Study: 25% of footbaths contain Legionella bacteria

Footbaths can harbor hazardous bacteria. The footbath in Tokyo pictured here is not known to be infected. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Footbaths, which have provided comfort to countless visitors to hot spring resorts, could be housing Legionella, a bacteria that can cause infectious diseases, including pneumonia, a researcher warned.

Katsunori Furuhata, associate professor of environmental microbiology at Azabu University, estimates that one in four footbaths in Japan contain Legionella bacteria.

"You are not likely to get sick just by putting your feet in one, but footbath operators should supervise sanitation responsibly," Furuhata said.

From 2009 to 2011, Furuhata studied samples from 125 footbaths at hot springs in 28 prefectures. He found Legionella bacteria in 31, or 25 percent, of them.

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