Across Sectional Study among Egyptian Young Swimmers investigating Microbial Bowel Infections and Biological Parameters affecting Swimming Performance
Background: Swimming pool hygiene is influenced by swimmers' hygiene. In swimming pools, not showering before swimming is thought to be a risk factor for the spread of microbial infections. Therefor we intended to determine the prevalence of microbial infections among young swimmers in Egypt, as well as other biological aspects and characteristics.
Materials and Methods: Starting from August 2020 to June 2021, a cross-sectional study was done on 528 swimmers from a public club the swimmers were divided into groups 1 and 2 if they had high or low scores in swimming, respectively. Informed consent was obtained before collecting demographic data, and blood, and stool samples. Fresh stool samples were subjected to Helicobacter pylori Ag detection, other samples were concentrated and stained to be examined for parasites.
Hemoglobin levels were determined using EDTA-blood samples. Physical factors (i.e. blood pressure and heart rate) were measured directly after swimming.
Results: The overall rate of microbial infections was 54% for intestinal parasitosis and 2.8% for H. pylori. Note that, Blastocystis spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. exhibited the highest rate of infection (24.1 % and 23.3%, respectively). In comparison to group 1, group 2 showed a significantly high rate of infection in terms of gender, age, duration, and frequency of swimming. Blood pressure, heart rate, and hemoglobin tests all yielded similar results. Swimmers who practiced swimming for <5 years were at higher risk (3- fold) as compared to ≥5 years. In addition, less frequent swimming (<4 days) was associated with a higher risk (5- fold) of infection compared with swimming ≥4 days.
Conclusion: The current study revealed a high prevalence rate of intestinal parasitic infections H. pylori, Blastocystis spp., and Cryptosporidium spp. Swimming habits, frequency, and duration were found to be linked with infectious status. Infection rates were also influenced by irregular blood pressure and heart rate, as well as anemia. To solve the challenges, measures need to be taken to raise awareness of the importance of swimmer hygiene and targeted health education.