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Potential Bacterial Contaminants in the Handles of Car Doors.


The Handles of car doors are one of the most important environmental places for microbial infection and disease transmissions through a direct contact on a daily basis (1,2).

In previous studies, the prevalence of microbial contamination on indoor environmental places such as homes, offices and restaurants was at high level. Now, many studies indicate that the source of these microbes is the pollution of the external environmental places and its transfer to the interior in many ways, most notably through direct contact (3,4,5).

There are many bacterial species on the contaminated solid surfaces, which frequently used such as handles of car and house doors. The most important of these bacterial species are belonging to genus of Staphylococcus, thus it represents one of the most important sources of infection. Naturally, Staphylococcus sp. colonize human skin and thus easy access to such places, making it a focus of microbial contamination and increased possibility of disease because of the arrival of these bacterial contaminants to places other than their natural places (6,7,8,9).

In addition, several studies have indicated the possibility of transmission of diseases through a variety of tools, such as the towels, razors, children's toys, stairs, switches and other elevators (10,11). Recently, nano-silver particles, are anti-microbes, and characterized by low toxic, low-cost, environmentally friendly and harmless, have been used in making of handles of car doors.

Furthermore, the handles of copper doors can kill some microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi; therefore, it is preferable to make the handles of door from copper. As a result of contact with these surfaces might be contaminated with dangerous pathogens, personal hygiene and hand washing are most important ways to avoid microbial infection (12).


A total of (100) samples from handles of car doors was collected using sterile swabs that were transferred to the laboratory within half an hour. All samples were diluted with saline solution. From each, 0.1 ml has been taken for culture on some selected culture media (13).

Samples processing

For the purpose of counting and diagnosing of the bacteria that cause contamination of the handles of car doors, all samples were processed according to the following steps: culture, counting of the colonies using the colony counter device, gram stain and biochemical tests.

Isolation and identification

All culture media were prepared according to instructions of the manufacture and sterilized at 121[degrees]C and 15 lb/2g for 15 minutes (14). Biochemical tests were performed using API20 tapes according to instructions of manufacture (BioMerieux).


The current study showed contradictory results among collected samples that have been taken as shown in table (1). The percentage of positive bacterial culture and yeast culture were (40%) and (52%) respectively, while the percentage of no growth culture was (8%), it seems that microbial contamination was very high in the surfaces of the handles of car doors in the present study.


The handles of car, house, and office doors, are one of the most important sources of infection among users because different people repeatedly use them. The current study has shown important levels of contamination with different positive and negative gram stain bacteria. The bacterial incidence was 70% for gram positive and 30% for gram negative (Fig.2), indicating that the majority of these bacteria are human skin's microbiota (4).

In view of the current results, the levels of microbial contamination of handles of car doors was high and the percentage of positive bacterial culture and yeasts were 40% and 52% respectively, while the percentage of negative samples was (8%), which foreshadows the possibility that these surfaces are a big source of infection.

Some isolated bacterial species (Fig.3) were attributed to human pathogenic groups such as S. aureus, Klebsiella sp., E. coli, Proteus sp, Salmonella sp., and Bacillus sp, and other were an opportunistic pathogens such as Staphylococcus sp., and Streptococcus sp. The current results were in consistent with results of 1516.

Most of the gram-negative bacterial species were Enterobacteraicea, indicating the contamination of these handles with faeces, where might cause food-borne diseases, urinary tract infections, or bronchial diseases. As well as the possibility of increased risk of skin diseases, inflammation of burns and wounds, gastroenteritis, diarrhea and other pathological injuries (12).

The results of the current study were in agreement with previous studies that indicated the possibility of contamination of solids, such as handles of home doors and office doors, with opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria. Our results were closed to those found by Nworie and his colleagues (17)), and Onwubiko and Chinyeaka (18) and inconsistent with another study conducted by Otter and French (19).

The current study showed a significant variation in the number of isolated bacteria from various handles car doors. These results were consistent with study of Boone and Gerba (20) and Nworie and his colleagues (17), who demonstrated that the levels of contamination of door handles depends on the rate of use and exposure to environmental factors such as heat, drought and other environmental factors.

The majority of gram-positive bacteria (Fig. 2) were belonged to Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. In fact, the most of the endemic bacteria of human skin belong to Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. This is in agreement with previous studies indicating the role of normal flora in contaminating the most important solid surfaces (17,21,22).

The presence of Bacillus bacteria with high rates in the handles of car doors in the current study (Fig. 3) was mainly to the fact, that these bacterial species able to resists hard environmental conditions through the formation of internal spores, which have the ability to germinate and grow again, when the appropriate conditions. Dramatically, Brooks and his colleagues (23) was referred to the spread of Bacillus sp, in the handles of house doors.

The present study confirmed that the current healthy procedures in the study sites were not of the required level. This may be due to the fact that most users of handles of car doors do not know the seriousness of the matter or do not know the possibility of transmission of many diseases by direct contact.

For real and effective intervention to support public health at the governmental and civil levels, it is essential highlight the importance of the subject through organization of lectures, workshops, and educational sessions.

When users are aware of the risk of transmission of many diseases from the surfaces of handles of car, homes and offices doors, this will greatly help to reduce the spread of many transitional diseases, whether bacterial or fungal and thus contribute to the promotion of public health.

It is clear that the role of personal hygiene through the importance of washing hands and the use of disinfectants and avoid eating foods without making sure to wash hands and other ways to reduce the spread of transitional diseases. 10.22207/JPAM.12.4.58


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Raad A. AL-Harmoosh [1], Ali J. Eidan [2], Hazim A. Al-Hadrawy [1], Qasim A. Mohammed [1] and Ameer Q. Hamed [1]

[1] Department of Ecology, College of Science, University of Kufa, Iraq. [2] Department of Basic Medical Science, College of Nursing, University of Kufa, Iraq.

* Correspondence:

(Received: 09 October 2018; accepted: 07 December 2018)

Caption: Fig. 1. Bar chart of percentage distribution for positive culture media (bacteria and yeast).
Table 1. Counting of bacterial colonies on the
contaminated handles of car doors.

No.   Sample No.   Mean of Colonies

1        S-1             300
2        S-2              0
3        S-3              50
4        S-4            yeast
5        S-5             300
6        S-6            yeast
7        S-7            yeast
8        S-8              25
9        S-9              15
10       S-10             30
11       S-11           yeast
12       S-12           yeast
13       S-13            150
14       S-14           yeast
15       S-15           yeast
16       S-16             20
17       S-17             0
18       S-18           yeast
19       S-19           yeast
20       S-20            300
21       S-21             75
22       S-22             75
23       S-23           yeast
24       S-24           yeast
25       S-25             50
26       S-26            100
27       S-27           yeast
28       S-28             75
29       S-29            200
30       S-30            200
31       S-31            200
32       S-32             15
33       S-33             75
34       S-34            300
35       S-35            300
36       S-36            100
37       S-37            200
38       S-38             75
39       S-39           yeast
40       S-40            200
41       S-41             75
42       S-42             25
43       S-43            200
44       S-44            100
45       S-45            200
46       S-46             35
47       S-47             75
48       S-48             0
49       S-49            100
50       S-50            300
51       S-51           yeast
52       S-52           yeast
53       S-53           yeast
54       S-54           yeast
55       S-55           yeast
56       S-56           yeast
57       S-57           yeast
58       S-58           yeast
59       S-59           yeast
60       S-60           yeast
61       S-61           yeast
62       S-62           yeast
63       S-63           yeast
64       S-64           yeast
65       S-65           yeast
66       S-66           yeast
67       S-67           yeast
68       S-68           yeast
69       S-69           yeast
70       S-70           yeast
71       S-71           yeast
72       S-72           yeast
73       S-73           yeast
74       S-74           yeast
75       S-75           yeast
76       S-76           yeast
77       S-77           yeast
78       S-78             0
79       S-79           yeast
80       S-80           yeast
81       S-81           yeast
82       S-82             0
83       S-83           yeast
84       S-84             0
85       S-85           yeast
86       S-86           yeast
87       S-87             30
88       S-88             25
89       S-89            300
90       S-90            300
91       S-91            200
92       S-92           yeast
93       S-93           yeast
94       S-94           yeast
95       S-95             0
96       S-96           yeast
97       S-97             25
98       S-98             0
99       S-99           Yeast
100     S-100           Yeast

Fig. 2. Pie chart of percentage distribution for bacteria
according to gram stain.

Negative gram stain   30%
Positive gram stain   70%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 3. Bar chart of percentage distribution of isolated
bacterial species.

S. aureus             15%
Proteus spp.           5%
Streptococcus spp.    16%
Klebsiella spp.        4%
Salmonella spp.        5%
Staphylococcus spp.   23%
E. coli               15%
Bacillus spp.         17%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:AL-Harmoosh, Raad A.; Eidan, Ali J.; Al-Hadrawy, Hazim A.; Mohammed, Qasim A.; Hamed, Ameer Q.
Publication:Journal of Pure and Applied Microbiology
Article Type:Report
Date:Dec 1, 2018
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