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study of microbiota inside the automobile cars

Authors:
  • Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital Pune
Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars
NJIRM 2013; Vol. 4(1). Jan Feb eISSN: 0975-9840 pISSN: 2230 - 9969
34
Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars.
Dr.Rajeev Saxena*,Ms.Sukanya Kadam**, Md.Mukhit Kazi***, Mrs.Ashwini Bhosale*** ,
Ms.Sheeba Robert**
*Professor and Head, **Research Scholar, ***Assistant professor, Department of Microbiology,
Sinhgad Dental College & Hospital Pune- 411041
Abstract: Introduction :The bacteria are transmitted through contact, inhalation, ingestion, inoculation etc .
The health care professionals are aware of preventive measures but unaware of most widely used cars as an
inanimate/fomite in spite of all preventive measures, the respiratory and skin infections are prevalent in health
care professionals , the present study is concerned with the isolation of pathogenic microbiota inside the
cars. Material Method : Total 30 cars are include in the study. The samples were collected by swab method in
Department of General Pathology & Microbiology, Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital Pune. Result :The study
revealed that the pathogenic microbiota were found in the cars especially Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus
aureus. Discussion :These microbes are documented as the potential source of respiratory , skin , soft tissue,
urinary tract infection. To conclude the cars needs to be cleaned frequently with disinfectants. [Saxena R et al
NJIRM 2013; 4(1) : 34-37]
Key Words: Infection, transmission, cars, inanimate/fomite, Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus,
disinfectant
Author for correspondence: Dr. Rajeev Saxena, Professor and Head, Department of Microbiology, Sinhgad
Dental College & Hospital Pune- 411041 E-mail: rajeevsaxenak2010@gmail.com
Introduction: Cars are the most widely used mode
of transportation. People spend lot of time
travelling in cars. Due to fast paced lives it has
become a necessity to travel in cars. The amount
of time spent in cars has increased compared to
what it was before which makes it the safest haven
where ever you wanted to go. But unfortunately
people are not particular about keeping their cars
as clean as their homes. Eating food, drinks, air
pollution, sock passengers, etc are all factors that
result in an unhygienic environment within the
car.1,2,3
A dirty car due to spillages may become the
breeding ground for microorganisms responsible
for various health problems. Wet carpet kept for
natural drying becomes conducive to multiply and
propagate harmful microbes that can cause
various illnesses like skin infection, severe nausea
and diarrhea.
Microorganisms without difficulty obtain place to
remain viable in various inanimate objects like
automobile cars. The microbes present in the soil
and dust may enter into the vehicle through
animas or the foot wares of
passengers. 4,5,6 Maintaining good hygiene within
the cars is extremely crucial, especially for people
travelling with small kids. The dash board, the
steering wheel and the gear are the most
commonly touched areas within the car, and it is
very important that they are kept clean. Recent
studies have revealed that eating in cars is just as
bad as eating within the toilet. 7,8,9
Very few studies have been conducted on the
pathogens within the cars. It has not been given
due importance. People suffering from car
sickness, dizziness, nausea etc while driving is
widely common issue in worldwide. A common
man is not aware of the possible risk of disease
due to pathogens in cars. Dr. Anthony Hilton
stated that though many species of microorganism
are harmless but some can cause unpleasant
health illnesses. 10
The aim of the present study was to find out
contamination by various pathogens in automobile
cars used by the private cars driven by health
professionals and different sects of users from the
general public.
Materials and Methods: The present study was
conducted in Department of General Pathology &
Microbiology, Sinhgad Dental College and Hospital
Pune. The study was approved by the institutional
research board and a necessary informed consent
was taken from the participants. The study period
was between June 2011 to December 2011.
Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars
NJIRM 2013; Vol. 4(1). Jan Feb eISSN: 0975-9840 pISSN: 2230 - 9969
35
Total 30 cars were included in the present study
from dental professionals and commercial persons
which were equally divided. The samples were
collected by swab method. The sterile swab dipped
in sterile normal saline from following areas from
each car-
1. Air blower
2. Dashboard
3. Gear stick
4. Door handle
5. Steering wheel
6. Driver’s seat
After collection the swabs were platted onto the
blood agar , MacConkey agar plates and incubated
overnight at 370c for 48 hours. After 48 hour
incubation plates were observed for the presence
of growth. Identification of the isolates were
identified by colony morphology, Gram stain and
standard biochemical tests.
The isolates were further subjected to antibiotic
sensitivity testing by Kirby Bauer disc diffusion
method on Muller Hinton agar plates. The
antibiotics used were ampicillin, penicillin,
cefotaxime, imipenem, gentamycin.
Staphylococcus aureus were tested for methicillin
resistance by cefoxitin disc. All the discs used were
procured from Hi-Media.
Results: All cars showed the presence of growth of
microorganisms. Table 1 shows that the number of
pathogens from the non doctor’s cars were more
than the doctor’s cars.
Table 1: Total of isolates as per the car users
Profession
Number of Isolates
(n=15x6=90)
Doctors
80
Non-Doctors
174
The distribution of isolates from various sites
within the cars is shown in table 2. The most
common isolates found were Bacillus species
followed by Serratia marcescens, unidentifiable
Gram negative rods, Acinetobacter spp,
Methicillin Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus
(MSSA), Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA), Enterococcus and Escherichia coli.
This suggests the wide distribution of
microorganism within the cars. All six sites from
where the maximum number of isolates were
isolated. Table no. 3 shows the antibiotic
sensitivity of the isolates isolated from various
sites within the car.
Table 2: Distribution of isolates from various sites in the car
Bacteria
Air blower
Dashboard
Door Handle
Steering Wheel
Driver’s Seat
Total
MRSA
2
2
3
1
6
16
MSSA
4
3
3
4
5
27
Escherichia coli
0
1
0
0
0
1
Serratia marcescens
5
5
7
7
9
39
Acinetobacter spp.
4
7
4
2
4
24
Enterococcus spp.
2
3
Bacillus spp.
21
23
19
16
13
109
Unidentifiable Gram
Negative rods
6
8
4
5
8
34
Klebsiella
pneumoniae
0
0
0
0
1
1
Total
40
49
40
37
46
254
Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars
NJIRM 2013; Vol. 4(1). Jan Feb eISSN: 0975-9840 pISSN: 2230 - 9969
36
Table 3: Antibiotic sensitivity pattern of isolates
Isolates
Total number of
Isolates
Resistance to antibiotics (%)
CX
AMC
MP
G
CF
PG
MRSA
16
16 (100)
16 (100)
16 (100)
16 (100 )
16 (100 )
16 (100)
MSSA
27
1 (3.7)
Escherichia coli
1
1 (100)
1 (100)
1 (100)
Serratia
marcescens
39
1 (2.5)
1
(2.5)
1 (100)
Acinetobacter
24
3 (12.5)
3 (12.5)
Enterococcus
3
2 (66.6)
2 (66.6)
Bacillus
109
3 (2.7)
Unidentifiable
Gram negative
rods
34
15 (44.1)
15
(44.1)
Klebsiella
pneumoniae
1
1(100)
1
(100)
CX Cefoxitin, AMC Ampicillin, MP Meropenem, G- Gentamycin, CF Cefotaxime, PG Penicillin
Distribution of isolates as per the car users is
depicted in table no. 4.
Table 4: Distribution of isolates as per car users
Pathogens
Doctors
n=15x6
Non-Doctors
n=15x6
MRSA
1
15
MSSA
20
7
Escherichia coli
1
0
Serratia marcescens
0
39
Acinetobacter spp.
2
22
Enterococcus spp.
3
0
Bacillus spp.
37
72
Unidentifiable Gram
negative rods
16
18
Klebsiella spp.
0
1
Total
80
174
Discussion: To our knowledge no study has been
conducted in India to know the presence of
pathogenic microorganisms in automobile cars to
date. This was first study which has been
conducted to know the presence of different
microbiota within the car
which might pose a threat to the drivers or
passengers sitting in such cars. This study also
reveals that the interior of cars may get
contaminated by pathogens like Methicillin
Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella
pneumoniae etc which causes various infections
and these pathogens can spread into the
environment. The organisms like Acinetobacter
spp which is one of the major cause in nosocomial
infections while Klebsiella pneumoniae is involved
in urinary tract infections, wound infections.
Table no. 1 showed that the number of isolates
were quite high in numbers in commercial cars
than the doctor’s cars. This is may be due to the
fact that the commercial vehicles are used by
number of people which is responsible for more
contamination. This also suggests that the number
of users increase the contamination of cars with
different micro organisms.
In the present study MRSA were isolated in high
numbers from the commercial vehicles than the
doctor’s vehicles which suggests the possible
Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars
NJIRM 2013; Vol. 4(1). Jan Feb eISSN: 0975-9840 pISSN: 2230 - 9969
37
contamination because of the passengers. In the
study conducted by Carle’s Gerba4 also found the
MRSA in the automobile cars. These microbes may
pose the threat to the person sitting in such cars
which contaminated with MRSA.
Although most strains were harmless but there are
some which are dangerous and are of potential risk
to the person who is driving such cars. The present
study also did the antibiotic sensitivity for the
isolates and found that there are strains like E. coli,
K. pneumoniae which showed 100 % resistant to
ampicillin. Fortunately no strain was resistant to
meropenem.
The present study concludes that the cars can
become potential hazard to the person who is
driving for long time and not taking any care to
clean within. The study recommends to clean the
cars from within thoroughly at least once a week
with known disinfectants. Further research is
needed to know the effect of disinfectants on
these microbiota isolated from within the cars
used by health care professionals or commercial
person.
Constraints In The Present Study: The study has
been conducted on a small numbers of cars. There
are no references found as such stating the
isolates isolated from within the cars which makes
difficult to compare. More studies are needed to
know the common microbiota found within the
cars.
Acknowledgement: We sincerely acknowledge the
support extended by Principal SDCH Pune. We also
thank Dr. Girish Pathade, Head Department of
Biotechnology, Fergusson College Pune for
appointing Ms. Sukanya for this project . We also
thank Ms. Sheeba Robert for extending help during
the project.
References:
1. Weekend Head- Don’t eat while driving-
www.foodpoisoningsigns.net Available from
: http://www.foodpoisoningsigns.net/weeken
d-head-dont-eat-while-driving-its-causes-
food-poisoning-signs/
2. Germs, Bacteria Lurk in your car (2006)-
www.abcnews.go.co.in Available from :-
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/OnCall/story
?id=2644212&page=1#.UJz8aWcTpOY
3. Cari Nierenberg. Is your car a germobile? ABC
News Report. 2008Available from :-
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ColdandFluN
ews/story?id=5892245&page=1#.UJz8e2cT
pOY
4. Your car is crawling with bacteria-
citytv.com Available from :-
http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/new
s/local/article/4944
5. Feeling car sick? Blame the bacteria-
www.reuters.com Available from :-
http://motoring.asiaone.com/Motoring/News/
Story/A1Story20080915-87941.html
6. Study Finds Car Steering Wheels Dirtier than
Toilet Seats- www.autoguide.com Available
from :- http://www.autoguide.com/auto-
news/2011/04/study-finds-car-steering-wheels-
dirtier-than-toilet-seats.html
7. How to Maintain a good Hygiene practices by
drivers ?-vehicle.ezinemark.com Available
from :- http://car.ezinemark.com/car-rental-
singapore-how-to-maintain-a-good-hygiene-
practices-by-drivers-179d97dc5da.html
1. How clean is your car? Steering wheels have
nine times more germs than public toilet seat-
www.dailymail.co.uk available from :-
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-
1379830/How-clean-car-Steering-wheels-
times-germs-public-toilet-seat.html
8. Car Interiors Are Laden with Bacteria-
www.safetyissues.com Available from :-
http://www.safetyissues.com/site/transportat
ion/car_interiors_are_laden_with_bacteria.h
tml
9. Charles P Gerba and Sher L Maxwell. Germs in
your car driving you crazy? Published In Healthy
House Institute: Available from :-
http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/a_79
1-Germs_in_Your_Car_Driving_You_Crazy
Conflict of interest: None
Funding: None
Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars
NJIRM 2013; Vol. 4(1). Jan Feb eISSN: 0975-9840 pISSN: 2230 - 9969
38

File (1)

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Bacteria Lurk in your car
  • Germs
Germs, Bacteria Lurk in your car (2006)-www.abcnews.go.co.in Available from :-http://abcnews.go.com/Health/OnCall/story ?id=2644212&page=1#.UJz8aWcTpOY
Germs in your car driving you crazy? Published In Healthy House Institute: Available from :http://www .healthyhouseinstitute.com/a_79 1-Germs_in_Your_Car_Driving_You_Crazy Conflict of interest: None Funding: None Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars NJIRM 2013
  • P Charles
  • Gerba
  • L Sher
  • Maxwell
Charles P Gerba and Sher L Maxwell. Germs in your car driving you crazy? Published In Healthy House Institute: Available from :http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/a_79 1-Germs_in_Your_Car_Driving_You_Crazy Conflict of interest: None Funding: None Study Of Microbiota Inside The Automobile Cars NJIRM 2013; Vol. 4(1). Jan – Feb eISSN: 0975-9840 pISSN: 2230 -9969
Is your car a germobile? ABC News Report. 2008Available from :http://abcnews .go.com/Health/ColdandFluN ews/story?id=5892245&page=1#.UJz8e2cT pOY 4. Your car is crawling with bacteriacitytv .com Available from
  • Cari Nierenberg
Cari Nierenberg. Is your car a germobile? ABC News Report. 2008Available from :http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ColdandFluN ews/story?id=5892245&page=1#.UJz8e2cT pOY 4. Your car is crawling with bacteriacitytv.com Available from :http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/new s/local/article/4944
UJz8e2cT pOY 4. Your car is crawling with bacteriacitytv
  • Cari Nierenberg
Cari Nierenberg. Is your car a germobile? ABC News Report. 2008Available from :-http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ColdandFluN ews/story?id=5892245&page=1#.UJz8e2cT pOY 4. Your car is crawling with bacteriacitytv.com Available from :-http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/new s/local/article/4944
Germs in your car driving you crazy?
  • P Charles
  • Sher L Gerba
  • Maxwell
Charles P Gerba and Sher L Maxwell. Germs in your car driving you crazy? Published In Healthy House Institute: Available from :-http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/a_79 1-Germs_in_Your_Car_Driving_You_Crazy Conflict of interest: None Funding: None NJIRM 2013;