The Frequency of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Homes Differing in Their Use of Surface Antibacterial Agents
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Antibacterial agents are common in household cleaning and personal care products, but their long-range impacts on commensal and pathogenic household bacteria are largely unknown. In a one-time survey of 38 households from Boston, MA  and Cincinnati, OH , 13 kitchen and bathroom sites were sampled for total aerobic bacteria and screened for gram phenotype and susceptibility to six antibiotic drug families. The overall bacterial titers of both user (2 or more antibacterial cleaning or personal care products) and non-user (0 or 1 product) rooms were similar with sponges and sink drains consistently showing the highest overall titers and relatively high titers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The mean frequency of resistant bacteria ranged from ≤20 % to as high as 45 % and multi-drug resistance was common. However, no significant differences were noted between biocide users and non-users. The frequency of pathogen recovery was similar in both user and non-user groups.
The authors thank Bruce Keswick, Ward Bilhimer, and Kathy Kramp for their invaluable assistance with design, methods, logistics and statistics. This study was funded in part by a grant from The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH.
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