Swimming pool-related Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections mainly result in folliculitis and otitis externa. P. aeruginosa forms biofilms on surfaces in the swimming pool environment. The presence of P. aeruginosa on inflatables and foam teaching aids in 24 public swimming pools in the Netherlands was studied. Samples (n = 230) were taken from 175 objects and analysed for P. aeruginosa by culture. Isolated P. aeruginosa were tested for antibiotic resistance by disk diffusion. P. aeruginosa was detected in 63 samples (27%), from 47 objects (27%) in 19 (79%) swimming pools. More vinyl-canvas objects (44%) than foam objects (20%) were contaminated, as were wet objects (43%) compared to dry objects (13%). Concentrations were variable, and on average higher on vinyl-canvas than on foam objects. Forty of 193 (21%) P. aeruginosa isolates from 11 different objects were (intermediate) resistant to one or more of 12 clinically relevant antibiotics, mostly to imipenem and aztreonam. The immediate risk of a P. aeruginosa infection from exposure to swimming pool objects seems limited, but the presence of P. aeruginosa on pool objects is unwanted and requires attention of pool managers and responsible authorities. Strict drying and cleaning policies are needed for infrequently used vinyl-canvas objects.

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