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Comparative surface-to-hand and fingertip-to-mouth transfer of gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria and phage.

This is the first study to directly compare the transfer of germs from household surfaces to the hands. After activities involving contaminated surfaces, bacteria and bacteriophages were counted on volunteers’ hands. Activities included wringing out a dishcloth/sponge, turning on/off a tap, making hamburgers, holding a phone receiver and removing laundry from a washing machine. The highest bacterial transfers to hands was from hard, non-porous surfaces, e.g. up to 65% of bacteria were transferred from the phone receiver to hand. Levels of hand contamination were often very high after handling porous items such as a dishcloth. This work highlights that household surfaces can become contaminated with bacteria or viruses that can easily be transferred to hands and then the mouth. J Appl Microbiol 2002; 93:585–592.

Author: Rusin P, Maxwell S, Gerba C

Published: 01/01/2002

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: Journal of Applied Microbiology