Tags: infectious | bacteria | toys | crib | children | senior | elderly

Toys, Books Spread Infectious Bacteria

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 02:45 PM

All those Christmas toys and books may spread more than good cheer. A new study has concluded that two common bacteria that cause colds, ear infections, and strep throat can live for long periods on the surfaces of toys, stuffed animals, books, cribs, and other child-related items — even after being cleaned.

The findings, published in the journal Infection and Immunity and reported by Medical Xpress, indicate Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes persist on surfaces for far longer than has been believed.
 
The researchers said the study suggests that additional precautions may be necessary to prevent infections, especially in settings such as schools, day care centers, and hospitals.
 
"These findings should make us more cautious about bacteria in the environment since they change our ideas about how these particular bacteria are spread," said Anders Hakansson, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "This is the first paper to directly investigate that these bacteria can survive well on various surfaces, including hands, and potentially spread between individuals."
 
S. pneumoniae, a leading cause of ear infections in children and respiratory illnesses, is widespread in daycare centers and a common cause of hospital infections, noted Hakansson. S. pyogenes commonly causes strep throat and skin infections in children and adults.
 
To reach their conclusions, the UB researchers tested the surfaces of toys and surfaces in a day care center. They found four out of five stuffed toys tested positive for S. pneumonaie and several surfaces, such as cribs, tested positive for S. pyogenes, even after being cleaned. The testing was done just prior to the center opening in the morning so it had been many hours since the last human contact.
 
"Bacterial colonization doesn't, by itself, cause infection but it's a necessary first step if an infection is going to become established in a human host," he explains. "Children, the elderly and others with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to these infections."
 

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A new study has concluded that two common bacteria that cause colds, ear infections, and strep throat can live for long periods on the surfaces of toys, stuffed animals, books, cribs, and other child-related items.
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Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 02:45 PM
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