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JAMA. 1991 Apr 10;265(14):1840-4.

The effect of diaper type and overclothing on fecal contamination in day-care centers.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Medical School, Houston 77030.

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  • JAMA 1991 Jun 5;265(21):2810.


Fecal coliform contamination of environmental surfaces and hands in the day-care center is common. This study evaluated the effect of two diaper types on fecal contamination. Ten rooms in four day-care centers containing 141 children were studied in a prospective, randomized, crossover study. A total of 2946 samples were cultured during the 9-week study. Fecal coliforms were isolated from 307 inanimate objects (15%), 73 toy balls (46%), and 131 hands (17%). The number of contaminated inanimate objects was significantly less in rooms where paper diapers were worn when compared with that in rooms where double cloth diapers with plastic overpants were worn and in rooms where clothes were worn over diapers. Inanimate object cultures had more contamination in rooms in which diarrhea had occurred. Containment of feces by overclothes and diaper type may be important in decreasing transmission of enteric pathogens in day-care environments.

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