Mean difference of coliform counts in relation to sanitation frequencies at the Simon Fraser University Childcare Society
Keywords:Child care facility, Sanitation, Frequency, Colony-forming unit (CFU), Coliforms, E. coli gastroenteritis
Background: Young children in child care facilities are more likely to contract communicable diseases than if they are cared for at home. The relationship between pathogen presence and frequency of toy sanitation at these facilities is not well studied. Thus, the discrepancies currently seen in the hygiene guidelines between health authorities in British Columbia, Canada. Most childcare facility studies in the current literature focus on gastrointestinal outbreak situations or the sanitation of multiple surfaces. The focus of this project is on toys only. Toys made out of wood were selected because research shows that this material is more susceptible to harboring bacteria on it. Microbiological swabbing was performed to measure the effectiveness of the sanitation schedule of a child care facility in Burnaby. Method: Twenty-four wooden blocks were randomly selected for surface sampling. The 3M™ Quick Swabs were used to collect the bacterial coliforms before and after sanitizing the blocks, whereas, the 3M™ Petrifilm™ E. coli/Coliform Count Plates were used to enumerate the bacteria. The last time the facility had cleaned the blocks was 1.5 weeks prior to sampling. Results: There were 0 CFU/cm2 for before and after sanitizing the blocks, therefore, the mean difference was also 0 CFU/cm2. Inferential statistics could not be conducted. Conclusion: The results can be interpreted several ways. One interpretation is that the current toy sanitation frequency at the facility is good. It could also mean that, the methodology used was not able to detect any coliforms. In combination with the conclusions from the different studies discussed in the evidence review, the development of a prescriptive toy sanitation schedule for child care facilities would not be a high priority for health authorities.
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