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Despite concerns about infection risks of floating tanks, outbreaks have rarely been reported. In May 2017, an outbreak of skin rash occurred among visitors of a floating tank open for the public in Norway. We assessed the extent and cause of the outbreak and the risk factors for infection in a retrospective cohort study among the visitors of the floating tank using a standardized web-based questionnaire. An environmental investigation was conducted including microbiological analysis of the floating tank water. Of the 46 respondents to the questionnaire (61 distributed), 22 reported symptoms, most commonly palmar and plantar rash, swollen lymph nodes, ear canal pain and itching. None of the investigated risk factors, such as sex, age, duration of bathing or use of the shower after bathing, were significantly associated with illness. The results of the environmental investigation indicated that the water was heavily contaminated by and heterotrophic bacteria. The outbreak investigation highlights the need to ensure adequate hygienic operation of floating tanks. Awareness about responsibilities should be raised among the operators of floating tanks and relevant operational parameters for floating tanks should be made available for local health authorities.


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