Personal Health

Washing machines can spread resistant germs

The scent of fresh Laundry almost every mag. But this fragrance can be deceiving.

Because researchers have now shown: fresh Laundry can be loaded with germs. And the bacteria can be transmitted to humans – even those that may pose a health risk.

“We have shown for the first time, that it can come through a washing machine also for the Transmission of antibiotic-resistant germs to people,” says Martin Exner, Director of the Institute of Hygiene IHPH at the University hospital Bonn. On their study, the researchers report in the journal “Applied and Environmental Microbiology”.

Specifically, the researchers have documented the Transmission of pathogens of the type Klebsiella oxytoca in a children’s hospital in a commercially available washing machine. In the clinic, a bacterium in the newborn was demonstrated in routine tests several times to the stomach, the intestinal or respiratory tract infections can lead to fatal blood poisoning. An antibiotic would have been able to help against the identified pathogens only to a limited extent or not at all. No infection in babies fortunately. But the hospital staff was baffled at first, as the germs could spread, in spite of intensive hygiene measures. So we consulted the experts.

Because of the Bakterientyp was pretty rare, could be understood by the researchers, its path well. And to exclude that the parents and the staff had introduced the germ in.

Found they were finally in the rinse tray of the washing machine and in the Rubber, says Schmithausen. The germs were a cap on the gently-washed Sweater and socks came to the infants. How the germs could get into the machine, is still unclear. It is conceivable that you get into the filled Laundry is plugged or the operator-for example, if this was you on the hands.

It was clear: The Trend of environmental protection and energy – saving reasons, to wash briefly and at low temperatures, could be in a health-sensitive people is counterproductive. Because in order to kill germs, it need at least 60 degrees, stresses Schmithausen. Also, the addition of chemical disinfectants could be useful. The protective immune-compromised people have priority in this case, environmental aspects.

The researchers ‘ findings also applied to the domestic sphere. For healthy people, using a normal washing machine, I have the result but not the consequences, says study leader Ricarda Schmithausen. Because: “For a person with an intact immune system, there is no danger of resistant pathogens, even if he hides such a germ in his mucus in should wear.”

A potential risk see doctors for sensitive groups: people with weakened Immune systems, severely ill, who have chronic wounds or indwelling catheters of life, people with festering injuries or infections, as well as newborn infants.

Hygienists Christian Brandt holds the Bonn investigation for a “milestone”. You’ve long suspected, that multi-resistant pathogens are transmitted via clean Laundry from the washer to the people – now it was proved in fact, says the Director of the Institute for Hygiene of the Vivantes clinics in Berlin.

Bacteria perish in drought quickly in moisture, they thrive on it. High washing temperatures, tumble dryer and iron are considered as bacteria-Killer. “Unfortunately, many garments today are not washable at 60 degrees, a possible factor of uncertainty,” says Brandt. Even if you wash at 60 degrees, will not reach this temperature in conventional machines in Places such as drawer, pump or door often, the pathogen could survive in there possibly.

In hospitals and care facilities, a high quality since decades claim of washing procedure for hospital textiles, describes the Hygiene expert. There is normally a disinfecting washing will be washed agents and high temperatures.

Multi-resistant bacteria are estimated to cause a “Lancet”study in Europe with 33,000 deaths per year, approximately 2300 people die thus, in Germany. If antibiotics no longer work, can also be minor infections life-threatening. About three-quarters of such diseases occur in hospitals and other institutions of the health care system, write the researchers. Therefore, experts urge that patient responsibility should be fully deal with antibiotics, and the funds are only taken or prescribed, if they are really necessary. In addition, it needs to be more research on new products, but it is time-consuming and expensive.