Sunday January 19, 2020

Excessive Hygiene Can Cause Antibiotic Resistance, Says Study

Hence, the results indicated that a stable microbial diversity in clinical areas counteracts the spread of resistances

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The study found that between 2000 and 2010, the consumption of antibiotics increased globally from 50 billion to 70 billion standard units.
The study found that between 2000 and 2010, the consumption of antibiotics increased globally from 50 billion to 70 billion standard units. (IANS)

While maintaining hygiene is good for health, excess cleanliness could lead to antibiotic resistance often resulting to death and illness as well, suggests a new study.

Comparing all existing microorganisms and antibiotic resistances, the researchers at Austria’s University of Graz, showed that microbial diversity decreases in areas with high levels of hygiene and the diversity of resistances increases.

The team compared the intensive care unit of the institute with clean rooms subject to strong microbial control in the aerospace industry and with public and private buildings which have hardly any microbial controls.

“In environments with strong microbial control in the intensive care unit and industrially used clean rooms, there are increasing antibiotic resistances which show a high potential for combining with pathogens,” said Alexander Mahnert, director at the varsity.

Antibiotics were nearly always given before surgery to prevent infection. Wikimedia Commons
Antibiotics were nearly always given before surgery to prevent infection. Wikimedia Commons

The number of people who become ill and die from antibiotic-resistant germs is increasing worldwide, said the study, published in Nature Communications.

Hence, the results indicated that a stable microbial diversity in clinical areas counteracts the spread of resistances.

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With the microbial control of pathogens already being used in cultivated plants and also in humans in the framework of stool transplantation, pursuing such ideas in indoor areas in future is recommended, said Gabriele Berg from the varsity.

The team suggested regular airing, houseplants, deliberate use of useful microorganisms and reduction of antibacterial cleaning agents could be the strategies in maintaining or improving microbial diversity. (IANS)

Next Story

Make-up Products Contain Dangerous Bacteria: Study

Life-threatening bacteria found in Make-up products

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Make-up products
Our daily make-up products are contaminated with dangerous superbugs. Pixabay

The vast majority of in-use make-up products such as beauty blenders, mascara and lip gloss are contaminated with potentially life threatening superbugs, researchers have warned.

“Make-up products used every day by millions of people in the UK are contaminated with potentially deadly bugs, such as E.coli and Staphylococci, because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiry dates,” said study lead author Amreen Bashir from Aston University in the US.

According to the study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, bacteria that can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to blood poisoning if used near eyes, mouth or cuts or grazes were found in nine out of ten of the products.

This risk is amplified in immunocompromised people who are more likely to contract infections from opportunistic bacteria.

The relatively new beauty blenders – sponges used to apply skin foundation products – were found to have the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria – with the vast majority (93 per cent) not having ever been cleaned, despite more than two thirds (64 per cent) being dropped on the floor at some point during use.

The research looked at beauty blender products – hugely popular make-up sponges used to blend foundation and contouring on the face.

Make-up products hygiene
The make-up products are contaminated by bacteria due to poor hygiene. Pixabay

Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5 million worldwide.

The researchers found these products are particularly susceptible to contamination as they are often left damp after use, which creates an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

“Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli – which is linked with faecal contamination – breeding on the products we tested,” Bashir said.

The findings reveal that consumers are unwittingly putting themselves at risk, and that manufacturers and regulatory bodies should do more to protect their customers by making expiry dates and cleaning requirements more prominent on packaging.

EU guidance holds make-up brands to strict hygiene standards of manufacture and states that E.coli in particular should not be found in any concentration in new cosmetic products.

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However, there is currently limited consumer protection around the risks of contaminating products while in use.

According to the study, post-Brexit, UK consumers could be at even greater risk as they will no longer be protected by EU regulations and could find themselves purchasing more beauty products from the US – for example – where there are no regulatory requirements to put expiry dates on make-up packaging at all. (IANS)