Pathogenic bacterial contaminants of handrails and their antibacterial susceptibility patterns in selected areas within Makerere University, Kampala Uganda
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The major source and spread of community acquired infections are fomites. Microbiological investigation into public hand touch surfaces has gained a lot of attention from researchers because contaminated surfaces may act as potential reservoirs of pathogens. The current study aimed at assessing pathogenic bacterial contaminants of handrails and their antibacterial susceptibility patterns in selected areas within Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. A total of 120 samples were obtained from three selected areas within the university and pathogenic bacteria were identified using morphological and biochemical characteristics. In addition, antibiotic susceptibility testing for the most predominant pathogenic isolate; Staphylococcus aureus was done using disc diffusion method on Mueller Hinton agar. Among 120 swab samples collected from handrails in the 3 locations, only 40 (33.3%) were positive for pathogenic bacterial contamination. Handrail surfaces in Makerere university main library were more contaminated (13.4%) than the rest of the study areas. Staphylococcus aureus was the most predominant pathogenic bacterial species (27.5%) and coagulase negative Staphylococcus species were the least isolated (2.5%). Results on antibiotic susceptibility testing indicated that S. aureus showed that all isolates were susceptible to Vancomycin (100%), Ampicillin (84.9%), Augmentin (81.8%), Cefuroxime (69.7%), Cotrimoxazole (66.7%) and lastly Tetracycline (6.1%). The study revealed that pathogenic bacterial contamination levels were low posing a less risk of infection to the users. Additionally, study demonstrated a moderate level of resistance to commonly used antibodies. A more complex study using molecular techniques would be required to identify genes responsible for antimicrobial resistance patterns of Staphylococcus aureus species that were isolated.