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What is the danger of a kitchen towel?

Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 11.10.2018
11 October 2018, 09:00

It is believed that a huge number of bacteria are contained in a washcloth for washing dishes. Is it much safer than a normal kitchen towel?
Not so long ago, Scientific Reports published a report that in 1 cm3 washcloths for washing dishes can count more than 5 * 1010 microbial cells, including pathogenic ones.

A new project of scientists representing the University of Mauritius was to count bacterial pathogens on the surface of a kitchen towel. It is not surprising that such an object is also not very clean. The researchers selected a hundred towels that had not been erased within 4 weeks, after which they tried to determine laboratoryally the microorganisms that lived on them. It was found that on every second towel there really were pathogenic microbes. At the same time, more "contaminated" were exhibits seized from families with a large number of children.
Scientists voiced such information: it turned out that the devices used simultaneously for wiping plates and hands were more polluted bacteria than those used for any one purpose (for example, for dishes only). And one more nuance, which is quite logical: a moist towel was more seeded, in contrast to dry.

Did the objects for wiping hands and utensils present an infectious danger?
The scientists summarized the results of the project at the regular conference of the Microbiological Society. In their speech, they reported that in more than 70% of cases the main bacterial representatives on towels were microorganisms that make up the normal flora of the human intestine. For example, nonpathogenic strains of Escherichia coli and microorganisms belonging to the genus of enterococci were found everywhere.

Fourteen percent of the towels were affected by Staphylococcus aureus . Scientists have long known this drug resistant to antibacterial medicines. It is called MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: it can provoke the development of many diseases, sometimes even autumn dangerous. However, such a microorganism is almost always present on human skin or mucous tissues of the respiratory system, without the development of painful processes.

It is noteworthy, but scientists have not found on the kitchen items of the standard pathogens of intestinal infectious diseases - for example, salmonella, campylobacteria, or pathogenic variants of E. Coli. It can be noted that the same golden staphylococcus can, under certain conditions, cause food poisoning when ingested. But he can get there by means of unwashed hands.

What conclusion did the researchers come to?

Of course, there is a considerable risk that bacteria can spread through dirty towels. However, this risk should not be exaggerated. Moreover, seldom does one of us erase such regularly used items once a month: this usually happens much more often.

Scientists advise: more attention should be paid to compliance with basic hygiene rules.

Details can be found at https://www.asm.org/index.php/asm-microbe-2018-press-room/2-uncategorised/95944-kitchen-towels-could-contribute-to-the-growth-of -potential-pathogens-that-cause-food-poisoning

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