This study had set out to analyze the Microbial examination of Aerosols of Toilet Miasma in household bathrooms within Ikot Akpaden, Mkpat Enin L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State. Aerosol is a collection of solid or liquid particles in gas suspension. The study objective was to investigate the aerosol concentrations with flushes of toilets miasma containing fecal wastes. Large number of bacteria and viruses when seeded into house hold toilets and due to adsorption of the organisms to porcelain surfaces of the toilet bowl, with gradual elution occurring after each flush may remain in the bowl even after continual flushing and hence causing individuals to contract an infection from aerosols created in the bathroom and toilet. Three (3) bathrooms were selected for the study and aerosol concentrations were measured across two (2) bathroom conditions which were the open and closed lid conditions. The bacterial populations were counted for the different study conditions with trials in triplicate. The The highest heterotrophic count for open toilet was recorded at toilet 1 (1.99×102 cfu/mm3) and the lowest count was at toilet 2 (2.00 x101 cfu/mm3). The highest total coliform count was recorded at toilet 1(6.80 x101) and the lowest coliform count was at toilet 3(1.02 x102). The highest total fungal count was recorded at toilet 1(5.20×101) and the lowest fungal count was recorded at toilet 2 (3.10×101). The highest total E. coli count was recorded at toilet 1 (1.10×102) and the lowest E. coli count was recorded at toilet 3(5.00 x100). The highest total salmonella count was recorded at toilet 1(1.72 x102) and the lowest salmonella count was recorded at toilet 3(1.30 x101). The highest heterotrophic count for close toilet was recorded at toilet 3(1.75 x102 cfu/mm3) and the lowest count was at toilet 1(1.20×101 cfu/mm3). The highest total coliform count was recorded at toilet 3 (9.50 x102) and the lowest coliform count was at toilet 1(2.50 x101). The highest total fungal count was recorded at toilet 3 (5.80×101) and the lowest fungal count was recorded at toilet 1 (1.40 x101). The highest total E. coli count was recorded at toilet 3 (1.00 x100) and the lowest E. coli count was recorded at toilet 1 and 2 (0.30×100) which has the same microbial count. The highest total salmonella count was recorded at toilet 3 (6.40 x101) and the lowest salmonella count was recorded at toilet 1 (1.10 x101). This result from the study shows that the microbial counts recorded on the open lid toilets were higher than those of the close lid toilets.
1.1 Background of study
Many diseases are caused by microorganisms. These small organisms which are too small to see without magnification, invade humans, and other living hosts. Their growth and reproduction within their hosts can cause disease (Darlow and Bale, 1956).
Microorganisms that cause diseases are called pathogens. Even when a pathogen is the principal cause of a disease, environmental and hereditary factors often influence the severity of the disease, and whether a potential host individual becomes infected when exposed to the pathogen. Infectious diseases have plagued humans for thousands of years (Brachman, 2003). With the development of the microscope, infectious microorganisms were discovered to be the causative agent (Brachman, 2003). The transmission of diseases by aerosols from toilets has received only limited study. It has been suggested that, aside from coughing and sneezing, this must be the most common process involved in the generation of infectious aerosols (Darlow and Bale, 1956). The generation of aerosols by toilets is seeded with coliform bacteria (Newsom et al., 1972).
The size of particles produced by the flushing of toilets was found to be in range that was capable of reaching the lower respiratory tract (Darlow and Bale, 1956). In addition pathogenic fecal contaminants, such as species of Escherichia and Salmonella, have been isolated from the respiratory tract of infected humans.
The fallout of droplets containing pathogens on bathroom surfaces is also of concern, since hand contact with contaminated surfaces can result in self-inoculation by touching of the nose or mouth (Wenzel and Gwaltney, 1973). Contact with contaminated surfaces has also been shown to be important in the spread of animal virus. Surface contamination may also occur from aerosols generated from infected individuals or contaminated equipment during patient care. Studies examining healthcare settings have measured aerosol concentrations and their composition to understand the generation source of aerosols during patient care (Augustowska&Dutkiewicz, 2006; Best et al., 2010; Greene et al., 1962; Li &Hou, 2003; Pastuszkaet al., 2005; Roberts et al., 2008; Sudharsanamet al., 2012).
The aerosols measured were composed primarily of bacteria, which are recognized as normal flora or infectious organisms able to colonize people (Augustowska&Dutkiewicz, 2006; Best et al., 2010; Greene et al., 1962; Li &Hou, 2003; Pastuszkaet al., 2005; Roberts et al., 2008; Sudharsanamet al., 2012). Many are capable of causing gastrointestinal illness, raising the concern that toilets may be able to aerosolize pathogens found in fecal waste (Best et al., 2010; Darlow& Bale, 1959; Mendes & Lynch, 1976; Newsom, 1972; Roberts et al., 2008).
Individuals who have gastrointestinal illnesses have been found to have higher concentrations of bacteria in fecal waste than healthy people (Thomson, 1955).
Flushing may eliminate loose fecal material from toilets; however residual microorganisms may exist on toilet walls to be later aerosolized (Darlow& Bale, 1959; Gerbaet al., 1975).
1.2 Statement of Problem
Asymptomatic patients could easily pass on pathogens thatf could be carried by aerosols. These microbes can be inhaled, or contacted through surfaces by other users of the same water cistern toilet or those nearby (as aerosols have the ability to float and move by in wind direction). Opportunistic microorganisms from tocilet flush could perch on hard surfaces and other toilet accessories which will eventually find their way into another individual and thereafter cause harm (Barker and Jones, 2005).