Detection of pathogenic micro-organisms on children's hands and toys during play
Article first published online: 20 MAR 2014
© 2014 The Society for Applied Microbiology
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Volume 116, Issue 6, pages 1668–1675, June 2014
How to Cite
Martínez-Bastidas, T., Castro-del Campo, N., Mena, K.D., Castro-del Campo, N., León-Félix, J., Gerba, C.P. and Chaidez, C. (2014), Detection of pathogenic micro-organisms on children's hands and toys during play. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 116: 1668–1675. doi: 10.1111/jam.12473
- Issue published online: 19 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 20 MAR 2014
- Accepted manuscript online: 13 FEB 2014 01:47PM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 21 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Received: 27 AUG 2013
- human pathogens;
- outdoor activities;
This study aimed to determine if the children's leisure activities impact the presence of pathogens on their hands and toys.
Methods & Results
To assess the microbiological hazard in playground areas, a pilot study that included 12 children was conducted. We then conducted an intervention study; children's hands and toys were washed before playing. Faecal coliforms, pathogenic bacteria and Giardia lamblia were quantified by membrane filtration, selective media and flotation techniques, respectively; rotavirus, hepatitis A and rhinovirus by RT-PCR. Pilot study results revealed faecal contamination on children's hands and toys after playing on sidewalks and in public parks. Pathogenic bacteria, hepatitis A and G. lamblia on children's hands were also found. In the intervention study, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae were found on children's hands at concentrations up to 2·5 × 104 and 1 × 104 CFU hands−1, respectively. E. coli and Kl. pneumoniae were detected on toys (2·4 × 103 and 2·7 × 104 CFU toy−1, respectively). Salmonella spp, Serratia spp and G. lamblia cysts were also present on toys.
Children's play activities influence microbial presence on hands and toys; the transfer seems to occur in both ways.
Significance and Impact of the Study
Control strategy needs to be implemented to protect children from infectious diseases.