Typical Japanese high-tech toilets could be spreading superbugs in hospitals

Typical Japanese high-tech toilets could be spreading superbugs in hospitals

According to new research presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), those typical modern and automatic toilets with various functions, which are so popular in Japan and other Asian countries, could be contributing to a health problem public .

Apparently, the problem would be in the nozzle through which the jet of water that is used to clean the toilet itself is expelled. This mouthpiece would facilitate the proliferation of multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MDRP) in hospitals, increasing the risk of dangerous transmission of germs between patients .

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

More than 80% of Japanese households use electric toilets with a built-in bidet, which flush automatically. The main feature is a pencil-sized nozzle that pops out from under the toilet seat and squirts water to wash the bottom and clean the toilet. The nozzle is also self-cleaning and cleans itself before and after each operation.

In this study, researchers investigated the presence of multi-resistant bacteria recovered from the water jet nozzles of electric toilets in a hematology room at Tokyo Medical University Hospital between September 2020 and January 2021. As explained by Itaru Nakamura , from Tokyo Medical University Hospital in Japan, who led the research:

If jet nozzles are a source of superbug cross contamination in hospitals, additional interventions, such as modified hand hygiene practices and toilet disinfection protocols, may be needed to stop the risk of transmission between providers healthcare providers and patients.

P. aeruginosa occurs naturally in soil and fresh water, but it can also thrive on damp hospital surfaces , causing opportunistic infections in debilitated and ill patients that could develop into life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia or sepsis.

Due to the overuse of antibiotics, these bacteria have developed the ability to resist attempts to treat infections with drugs that once killed them. And infections caused by the MDRP bacteria are becoming more and more common both in the community and in hospitals . Mortality rates among people infected with these strains of superbugs are twice those of people infected with treatable strains.