Q-246. Survey of Pathogenic Bacteria in Restrooms along Interstate Highways in the Southwest United States

K. L. Sternes, E. A. Sternes;
Sul Ross State Univ., Alpine, TX.

Bacterial pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Escherichia coli, Streptococcus spp., etc.) are frequently passed from person to person by fomites. This study was conducted prior to the vast media coverage of MRSA This study was conducted to elucidate the prevalence of pathogenic bacteria in public restrooms at reststops along Interstates 10, 20, 25 and 40 in the Southwest United States. Samples were collected from the restrooms at reststops along the interstates using sterile cotton tip swabs. Swabs were taken from any of the following present in the restroom; the inner restroom door handles, toilet stall handles, toilet flush handles, urinal flush handles, sink handles, soap dispenser handles, towel dispenser handles and blow dryer handles. Swabs were stored in test tubes at 20oC, then placed in tubes with 5ml of Brain Heart Infusion broth and incubated for 24h at 37oC. Following incubation a 1:500 or 1:200 dilution of each sample culture was plated on the following media: Chromagar Orientation (OR), E. coli (EC) and MRSA (MR); Bile esculin azide agar BEA and Baird Parker agar w/ EY enrichment (BP). Cotton swabs were used to coat plates with the diluted samples. All plates were incubated at 37oC for 24h, colonies were counted and the BEA was incubated for an additional 24h with colonies being counted again.