"Drug-resistant staph bacteria have been found on public beaches in Washington state, and beaches in other states may harbor the superbug too.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) was once rarely seen outside of hospitals or other health care facilities. But in the past decade, cases have been rising in communities.
Community-acquired infections in people without risk factors such as poor hygiene are a growing concern, but little is known about environmental sources of MRSA, says Marilyn Roberts, PhD, an environmental health scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The new study suggests marine water and sand may harbor the bug, she says.
Roberts tells WebMD that an individual beachgoer's risk of acquiring the infection is unknown."