Parents hope their children come home with something new that they have learned each day while attending daycare, but a new study by researchers at The University of Buffalo (UB) reveals that children are likely to bring home unwanted bugs as well.
The research team discovered that common bacteria that cause colds, ear infections, strep throat, and skin infections can survive for long amounts of time on inanimate objects like toys, cribs, and books.
In the day care center examined, researchers found that four out of five stuffed toys tested positive for S. pneumonaie and several surfaces, such as cribs, tested positive for S. pyogenes, even after being cleaned.
The testing was done just prior to the center opening in the morning--many hours since the last human contact.
Anders Hakansson, Assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences stated that S. pneumonaie is the “leading cause of ear infections in children and mortality from respiratory tract infections in children and the elderly.”
He also remarked that it is “widespread in daycare centers and a common cause of hospital infections.”
S. pyogenes are the common contributors to strep throat and skin infections in school children.
The research team is continuing to explore how the bacteria is able to survive for such lengthy periods of time and reiterates that additional precautions may be necessary to prevent infections, especially in settings such as schools, daycare centers and hospitals.