Patterns of fecal coliform contamination in day-care centers.
During a six-month period, on four separate occasions, six licensed day-care centers had cultures taken from environmental surfaces as well as the hands of children and teachers. Fecal coliforms were recovered from 64 (9.5%) of the 675 surfaces sampled. Recovery rate was not influenced by a center's socioeconomic status, time of year, or presence of children who were not toilet trained. Recovery rates did differ significantly in different areas, with the kitchen showing a relatively high recovery rate (19%), and toys and toilets showing remarkably low rates (2% and 4%). Centers with formal hand-washing procedures had lower recovery rates than those without such practices. We also demonstrated a high recovery rate from hands of staff (16%); 6% of children had positive cultures. Contamination of hands and classroom objects is a potential source for the transmission of enteric diseases for children in day-care centers. A program directed at reducing contamination would be important in preventing the spread of diarrheal illness.
Holaday, B; Pantell, R; Lewis, C; Gilliss, CL
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