International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information
International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

Enterococcus spp on Fomites and Hands Indicate Increased Risk of Respiratory Illness in Child Care Centres

Background: Surface-mediated transmission is a potential route for respiratory disease in child care centres, but evidence of its importance relative to other routes (e.g., airborne) is limited.

Methods: We tracked respiratory disease and monitored bacteria contamination on hands and fomites over 4 months during 64 visits at 2 child care centres. Staff monitored health daily by recording respiratory symptoms. We measured concentrations of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp, and fecal coliform in hand rinses and on select fomites.

Results: We demonstrated that symptomatic respiratory illness was positively associated with microbial contamination on hands and fomites, as measured using Enterococcus spp. Enterococcus spp were 0.28 (95% confidence interval: 0.08-0.48)-log10 (colony-forming units per 2 hands) higher when an individual had symptomatic respiratory illness. Susceptible individuals were 1.62 (95% confidence interval: 1.06-2.46) times more likely to develop respiratory illness within 4 days with every log10 increase of Enterococcus spp on hands.

Conclusion: The findings imply that hand contamination as measured using Enterococcus spp is a risk factor for onset of respiratory illness and highlight the utility of fecal indicator bacteria as a metric for hand and fomite contamination.