Survival of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on bare hands and gloves: hygiene implications for amphibian handling

Mendez, Diana, Webb, Rebecca, Berger, Lee, and Speare, Richard (2008) Survival of the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis on bare hands and gloves: hygiene implications for amphibian handling. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 82 (2). pp. 97-104.

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Hygiene protocols for handling amphibians in the field and in laboratories have been proposed to decrease the transmission of chytridiomycosis caused by infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which is responsible for global amphibian declines. However, these protocols are mainly based on theoretical principles. The aim of this study was to develop an evidence-based approach to amphibian handling hygiene protocols by testing the survival of B. dendrobatidis on human hands and various gloves. Bare or gloved human fingers were exposed to cultured zoospores and zoosporangia of B. dendrobatidis. Survival of B. dendrobatidis on hands and gloves was tested for up to 10 min post-exposure by inoculation onto tryptone/gelatin hydrolysate/lactose (TGhL) agar plates. The effects of repeated hand washings with water and with 70% ethanol and of washing gloves with water were also tested. Bare human skin demonstrated a fungicidal effect on B. dendrobatidis by 2 min and killed 100% of cells by 6 min, but this killing effect was reduced by repeated washing with water and ethanol. Nitrile gloves killed all B. dendrobatidis on contact, but washing in water decreased this effect. Latex and polyethylene gloves had no killing effect, and B. dendrobatidis survived for over 6 min. The killing effect of vinyl gloves varied with brands and batches. These results support the use of an unused pair of gloves for each new amphibian handled in either the field or the laboratory, and if this is not possible, bare hands are a preferable, although imperfect, alternative to continual use of the same pair of gloves.

Item ID: 6215
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1580
Keywords: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; human skin; gloves; hygeine; amphibian handling
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2010 00:30
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060502 Infectious Agents @ 75%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 25%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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