New Model Mimics the Spread of Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens Rising from Sink

March 10, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Increasing reports have linked colonized sink traps to nosocomial infections, but the mechanism of transmission has been unclear. The authors of an article in Applied and Environmental Microbiology have identified a mechanism by which multidrug-resistant pathogens from the P-trap of sink drains can grow upward to contaminate the sink strainer, which can then result in droplet contamination of the surrounding areas when the faucet is used. P-traps are integral components of sinks that provide a water barrier to prevent sewage gases from drifting upward; this retained water creates favorable conditions for antibiotic-resistant microorganisms to survive and develop resistant biofilms. Researchers describe a detailed methodology carried out in a gallery of sinks set up to mimic hospital handwashing sinks. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing Escherichia coli placed in P-traps and subjected to intermittent water exposure were sustained for 14 days but did not grow or move upward toward the sink strainer.

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