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J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Feb;32(2):469-72.

Loofah sponges as reservoirs and vehicles in the transmission of potentially pathogenic bacterial species to human skin.

Author information

1
Clinical Microbiology Laboratories, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York 10029.

Abstract

Loofah sponges are natural products used as exfoliative beauty aids. As a consequence of tracing a case of Pseudomonas aeruginosa folliculitis to a contaminated loofah sponge, we assessed the role of loofah sponges in supporting the growth of a wide variety of bacterial species. Our data show growth enhancement of sterile loofah fragments for numerous gram-negative (Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas, and Klebsiella) and gram-positive (Enterococcus and group B Streptococcus) species of human and environmental origin. Furthermore, hydrated new, unused loofah sponges undergo a shift in bacterial flora from sparse colonies of Bacillus spp. and Staphylococcus epidermidis to a predominantly gram-negative flora. The growth-promoting potential of loofah sponges (and other exfoliatives) can be further augmented by desquamated epithelial cells entrapped in the loofah fibrous matrix. Therefore, as loofah sponges (and other exfoliatives) can serve as a reservoir and a vehicle for the transmission of potentially pathogenic species to the human skin, we recommend their decontamination with hypochlorite (10%) bleach at regular intervals.

PMID:
8150959
PMCID:
PMC263056
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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