Factors Affecting the Persistence of Staphylococcus aureus on Fabrics

Lee J. Wilkoff, Louise Westbrook, Glen J. Dixon
1969 Applied microbiology  
The persistence of Staphylococcus aureus (Smith) on wool blanket, wool gabardine, cotton sheeting, cotton knit jersey, cotton terry cloth, and cotton wash-andwear fabrics was studied. The fabrics were exposed to bacterial populations by three methods: direct contact, aerosol, and a lyophilized mixture of bacteria and dust having a high content of textile fibers. The contaminated fabrics were held in 35 or 78%o relative humidities at 25 C. In general, the persistence time of S. aureus
more » ... on fabrics held in 35% relative humidity was substantially longer when the fabrics were contaminated by exposure to aerosolized cultures or to dust containing bacteria than when contaminated by direct contact. In a 78% relative humidity, bacterial populations on the fabrics persisted for substantially shorter periods of time regardless of the mode of contamination or fabric type. Cotton wash-and-wear fabric (treated with a modified triazone resin) was the material on which populations of S. aureus persisted for the shortest time. This organism retained its virulence for Swiss mice after being recovered from wool gabardine swatches held 4 weeks in 35% relative humidity and 6 weeks in 78% relative humidity. a modified triazone resin (Perma Fresh 197) to impart wash-and-wear properties to the fabric (J. W. Richardson, Russell Mills, Inc., Alexander City, Ala., personal communication). All fabrics had been bleached, were undyed, and were not impregnated with antimicrobial or moth-proofing substances.
doi:10.1128/aem.17.2.268-274.1969 fatcat:pl2dg73cozcg5aprhy22yptmtu