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Objects Like Toys And Books Harbor Bacteria For Longer Periods

Update Date: Dec 27, 2013 10:32 AM EST

A school of thoughts regarding bacterias that cause colds, ear infections and strep throat is that they cannot live for long outside the human bacteria. But a new study is challenging it.

Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes do persist on surfaces for far longer than anticipated, according to a new study. The findings of the study also suggested that additional precautions are necessary in order to precent infections especially in environment like daycare 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 senior author Anders Hakansson, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in a press release.

“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 is one of such bacterias that causes ear infections in children. The bacteria might also lead to pneumonia and sepsis hence killing one million children every year.

S. pyogenes is the cause of strep throat and skin infections in school children but can also effect the adults.

“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,” Hakansson explained. “Children, the elderly and others with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to these infections.”

“Commonly handled objects that are contaminated with these biofilm bacteria could act as reservoirs of bacteria for hours, weeks or months, spreading potential infections to individuals who come in contact with them,” concluded Hakansson in the press release.

Developments of the study is published in Infection and Immunity.

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