Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Salmonella Risk to Tots from Dust

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Salmonella Risk to Tots from Dust

Article excerpt

Environmental health officers investigating Salmonella outbreaks among young children may be missing a less-than-obvious source--the contents of the domestic vacuum cleaner bag--according to new research.

Historically, Salmonella has been linked to animal contact or contaminated foods. But research published by the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health in Great Britain reveals that contaminated house dust may be an undetected vector. The researchers found that the Salmonella bacteria can survive for up to 65 days in a dust bag and can infect a child throughout this time.

"Once Salmonella gets into the vacuum cleaner bag, it is in a completely variable environment," said Dr. Kay Sharp, senior lecturer at University of Surrey Roehampton, who headed the research. "There may be fragments of food, there may be moisture content, which of course it needs. We are not necessarily saying it is growing, just that it remains viable."

Vacuum cleaner samples were taken from 76 households in rural and urban areas. Questionnaires revealed the numbers of children, the type of cleaner used, the presence of pets, whether outdoor shoes were worn indoors, and any history of intestinal illness over the last two weeks. …

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