New Model Mimics the Spread of Multidrug-Resistant Pathogens Rising from Sink
March 10, 2017 | Aging Services Risk Management
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.