Haysom, I and Sharp, K (2003) 'The survival and recovery of bacteria in vacuum cleaner dust.' Perspectives in Public Health, 123 (1). pp. 39-45. ISSN 1757-9147

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/146642400312300114


The possibility exists that environmental dust could be a source of gastro-intestinal infection in the domestic environment and that the causative microbes are collected during vacuum cleaning. This study examines the survival of total bacterial populations, Enterobacteriaceae and salmonella species in vacuum cleaner dust in vitro and in use. Total counts remain constant at around 106-108 colony forming units (cfu) g-1 for at least 60 days. Enterobacteriaceae showed only a slight decline over the same period. Recovery of salmonellae artificially inoculated into vacuum dust was dose and time dependent: even relatively small inocula (<100 cfu g-1) were recoverable more than one month after inoculation. Questionnaires and vacuum cleaner dust samples were received from 76 households. A significant association was found between total bacterial counts and whether the household was in a rural or urban situation and the number of people in the household. No association was found between total bacterial counts and the number of children in the household, the presence of pets, wearing shoes indoors, the make, model and age of the vacuum cleaner, the type of dust collector or dust bag, how often the vacuum cleaner was used and the length of time between sample collection and microbiological testing. Salmonella species were isolated from vacuum cleaner dust from three of the 76 households although no factors could be identified linking the homes. This study shows that vacuum cleaners are effective collectors and reservoirs of microbial contamination and that these contaminants are able to survive for up to two months. Vacuum cleaner dust could thus be a useful indicator of environmental contamination in the home.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Environmental contamination - microbial survival - salmonella - vacuum cleaners
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2012 04:45
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 14:12
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)