Disease Is Living In Your Sink Drain

Many people worry about getting sick after being sneezed or coughed on by somebody who is ill. But you may be exposed to a source of illness every day as soon as you get up in the morning and visit the bathroom. Researchers at Penn State have found that sink drains harbor a fungus called Fusarium that is frequently associated with human infections.

“With about two-thirds of sinks found to harbor Fusarium, it’s clear that those buildings’ inhabitants are exposed to these fungi on a regular basis,” says lead investigator Dylan Short. “This strongly supports the hypothesis that plumbing-surface biofilms serve as reservoirs for human pathogenic fusaria.”

Some species of Fusarium cause opportunistic and sometimes fatal infections in humans, typically entering the body through wounds or trauma, via catheters and intravenous devices or by introduction of a biofilm to the eye. While relatively rare, Fusarium infections can be difficult to treat because of the organism’s resistance to many antifungal drugs. Those most at risk are individuals with weak or compromised immune systems.

In one high-profile case, Fusarium was found to have caused a widely publicized 2005-06 outbreak of fungal keratitis — infection of the cornea — among contact-lens wearers.

“In the recent outbreaks of fungal keratitis in Southeast Asia and North America connected to contact-lens use, plumbing systems were the main environmental sources of the most frequent Fusarium species and sequence types associated with eye infections,” Short says.

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Easy Health Options Staff

By Easy Health Options Staff

Submitted by the staff at Easy Health Options®.