Kitchens A Source Of Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria
April 9, 2014

What Threat Is Lurking In Your Kitchen That May Also Be Found In Hospital Kitchens?

April Flowers for - Your Universe Online

From professional chef to housewife, every cook knows that handling raw poultry leaves your hands, tools and surfaces covered in drug-resistant bacteria such as E. coli. These bacteria produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs), which are enzymes that make the bacteria resistant to many commonly used antibiotics.

A new study from the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, examined household and hospital kitchens to illustrate how these areas are a major source of transmission, despite this well-known fact. The findings were described in a recent issue of  Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

"The spread of multi-drug resistant bacteria has been associated with the hospital setting, but these findings suggest that transmission of drug-resistant E. coli occurs both in the hospital and households," said Andreas Widmer, MD. "Our findings emphasize the importance of hand hygiene, not only after handling raw poultry, but also after contact with cutting boards used in poultry preparation."

The research team collected 298 cutting boards — 154 from University Hospital and 144 from private households — after they had been used in the preparation of various meats, such as poultry, beef/veal, pork, lamb, game and fish. Twenty pairs of gloves were collected from University Hospital employees after they handled raw poultry. All samples were gathered before the boards or gloves were cleaned. The team tested every sample for the presence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, a family of gram-negative bacteria that includes Salmonella, E. coli and Klebsiella.

For cutting boards used in the preparation of poultry, 6.5 percent of the hospital boards were contaminated with ESBL-producing E. coli. Household cutting boards, however, only had ESBL-producing E.coli on 3.5 percent. The team found that 50 percent of the hospital gloves tested positive.

None of the cutting boards used in the preparation of any other type of meat were found to be contaminated. The meat's country of origin did not play a factor in the presence of bacteria on any of the surfaces.