Microbiological hazards of household toilets: droplet production and the fate of residual organisms

Charles P Gerba, C. Wallis, J. L. Melnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

Large numbers of bacteria and viruses when seeded into household toilets were shown to remain in the bowl after flushing, and even continual flushing could not remove a persistent fraction. This was found to be due to the adsorption of the organisms to the porcelain surfaces of the bowl, with gradual elution occurring after each flush. Droplets produced by flushing toilets were found to harbor both bacteria and viruses which had been seeded. The detection of bacteria and viruses falling out onto surfaces in bathrooms after flushing indicated that they remain airborne long enough to settle on surfaces throughout the bathroom. Thus, there is a possibility that a person may acquire an infection from an aerosol produced by a toilet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Volume30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology

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