Volume 98, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



We conducted a cross sectional study to assess 1) the association between access to basic sanitation and fecal contamination of sentinel toy balls and 2) if other sanitation factors such as shared use and cleanliness are associated with fecal contamination of sentinel toy balls. We assessed sanitation facilities in 454 households with a child aged 6–24 months in rural Bangladesh. We defined “basic” sanitation as access to improved sanitation facilities (pit latrine with a slab or better) not shared with other households. In each household, an identical toy ball was given to the target child. After 24 hours, the balls were rinsed to enumerate fecal coliforms as an indicator of household fecal contamination. Households with basic sanitation had lower fecal coliform contamination than households with no access to basic sanitation (adjusted difference in means: −0.31 log colony forming units [CFU]/toy ball; 95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.61, −0.01). Shared sanitation facilities of otherwise improved type were more likely to have visible feces on the latrine slab compared with private facilities. Among households with access to improved sanitation, households with no visible feces on the latrine slab had less toy ball contamination than households with visible feces on the latrine slab (adjusted difference in means: −0.38 log CFU/toy ball; 95% CI: −0.77, 0.02). Access to basic sanitation may prevent fecal contamination of the household environment. An Improved sanitation facility used by an individual household may be better in preventing household fecal contamination compared with improved facilities shared with other households.


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  • Received : 07 Sep 2016
  • Accepted : 18 Dec 2017
  • Published online : 12 Feb 2018

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