The aim of this study was to identify the exposure pathways of fecal pathogens for a pediatric population living in the urban slums of Bangladesh. A total of 252 soil, food, surface, and hand rinse samples were collected from the pilot households with children less than 5 years of age. All samples were analyzed using the IDEXX Quanti-Tray System (Colilert-18) to enumerate fecal indicator bacteria Escherichia coli. Escherichia coli was detected in all soil samples collected from children play spaces (N = 46), 35% of objects and surfaces children frequently put in their mouths, and 31% of child food samples. Thirty-three percent of hand samples from the child and 46% of hand samples from the caregiver had detectable E. coli. These findings showed high fecal contamination of soil, food, and on hands and surfaces in households with young children and demonstrate the need for interventions reducing these exposure pathways for susceptible pediatric populations.
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Address correspondence to Munirul Alam or Fatema-Tuz Johura, Molecular Ecology and Metagenomics Laboratory, icddr,b, Mohakhali, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh. E-mails: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org