The survival of salmonellas on the finger-tips is considered with reference to the ease with which they can be transferred to food by handling.
Escherichia coli and several Salmonella serotypes were shown to survive on the finger-tips for various periods of time, for example, S. anatum could be recovered 3 hr. after artificially contaminating them with between 500 and 2000 organisms. S. anatum could also be recovered from the finger-tips after contaminating them with more than 6000 organisms followed by a 15 sec. hand-wash 10 min. later. Similarly, the survivors from minimal inocula of less than 100 S. anatum/finger-tip were, after 10 min., still capable of infecting samples of corned beef and ham. E. coli was isolated from the finger-tips of 13 of 110 butchers soon after they had left the meat line at a meat products factory, but was not detected on the finger-tips of 100 volunteers at the Central Public Health Laboratory.
The implications of the present findings to the spread of salmonellas from raw to cooked foods, and the relevance of this to outbreaks of Salmonella infection in the general population and in hospitals, are discussed.
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