Yucky ducky? Study reveals bath-time friends' dirty secret

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Yucky ducky? Study reveals bath-time friends' dirty secret
The March 27, 2018 photo shows the inside of a rubber duck after it was cut open for the photo in Nauen, Germany. Swiss researchers now say the cute, yellow bath-time friends harbor a dirty secret: Microbes swimming inside. The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology says researchers turned up “dense growths of bacteria and fungi” on the insides of toys like rubber ducks and crocodiles.( AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)

BERN, Switzerland (AP) — Scientists have the dirt on rubber ducky: Those cute yellow bath-time friends are, as some parents have long suspected, a haven for nasty bugs.

Swiss and American researchers counted the microbes swimming inside the toys and say the murky liquid released when ducks were squeezed contained “potentially pathogenic bacteria” in four out of five toys studied. The bacteria included Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that “often implicated in hospital-acquired infections.”

The study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH Zurich and the University of Illinois was published Tuesday in the journal Biofilms and Microbiomes.

Researchers, who received funding from the Swiss government, say using higher-quality polymers to make the ducks could prevent bacterial and fungal growth.