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Sentinels of Health: Threats from Recreational Waters

“Is it safe to recreate?”

Water sports require that our streams, lakes, and coastal waters be clean and safe for swimming, but how safe are they? Many animals, from the simplest microorganism to individual fish or birds, can serve as sentinels, alerting us to the spread of disease.

USGS scientists have found that many of the highly prized striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay are "skinny" and have disfiguring skin sores. USGS and Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) researchers have discovered that microbes known as mycobacteria cause the skin sores. Striped bass mycobacterial skin sores persist for years, raising concerns about the long-term health of these trophy fish and the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

A coalition of scientists at USGS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and VIMS are working together to understand mycobacterial disease in the Bay, reduce this disease's spread, and assess the health risks for people who come in contact with aquatic areas, and for those who catch and handle infected fish.

Links to USGS Sentinel Research Projects

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Consumption of Bioaccumulative Contaminants
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Contact With Recreational Waters
Animal Sentinels of Human Health

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URL: http://health.usgs.gov/sentinels/recreational_waters.html
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Page Last Modified: 05-May-2016@11:48