Infectious Disease

High-tech toilets can spread multi-resistant bacteria in hospitals

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Nakamura I. et al. Nosocomial transmission of multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa via the nozzles of electric toilets. Presented at ECCMID; 9-12 July 2021 (virtual meeting).

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According to a study, high-tech toilets in a Japanese hospital could harbor and spread multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The results were presented at the virtual congress 2021 European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases.

Source: Adobe Stock.

According to a recent study, high-tech toilets in a Japanese hospital could accommodate multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in their water nozzles and then pass them on to patients. Source: Adobe Stock.

“This is the first report of hospital transfers related to electric toilets and could have a significant impact on infection control,” he said. Itaru Nakamura, PhD, from Tokyo Medical University Hospital, according to a press release. “If water jets are a source of cross-contamination with super bacteria in the hospital, additional measures such as changes in hand hygiene practices and toilet disinfection protocols may be required to reduce the risk of transmission between healthcare providers and patients alike.”

Between September 2020 and January 2021, Nakamura and colleagues examined multi-resistant bacteria that were obtained from the water jet nozzles of electric toilets in a hematology station of the hospital. According to the study, they made more than 10 visits to collect samples from water jets in electric toilets used by three patients with multi-resistant P. aeruginosa (MDRP) infections, including two patients with severe sepsis.

The researchers used genetic fingerprinting techniques to determine whether the MDRP strains from the three infected patients matched the environmental MDRP strains from the toilet nozzles. Overall, they found that the samples were consistent, with a strain called ST235 dominating in all samples, suggesting that there were transmissions to and from patients.

“In short, our results suggest that multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa bacteria have been transmitted within the patient community and that the infection can be spread in hospitals through contaminated electric toilet nozzles,” Nakamura said in the press release. “With good hospital hygiene, which includes hand washing and environmental cleaning, we can control the spread of these pathogens, especially in environments where the patient’s immune system is weakened.”

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