Microbial contamination in kitchens and bathrooms of rural Cambodian village households

R. G. Sinclair, C. P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Aims: To quantify microbial contamination on kitchen and bathroom surfaces (fomites) in rural Cambodian homes and to compare these concentrations to similar data from the United States and Japan.Methods and Results: This study monitored the numbers of faecal coliforms (i.e. thermotolerant coliforms), total coliforms, Escherichia coli and heterotrophic plate count bacteria on household surfaces in a rural village of Cambodia. Faecal coliform levels in Cambodia were highest on moist locations such as the plastic ladle used for sink water, the toilet seat surface and the cutting board surface with 100-fold higher levels of faecal coliform bacteria than E. coli and 100-fold higher levels of faecal coliforms than the US and Japanese studies.Conclusions: A single public health intervention barrier, such as an improved latrine, is only partially effective for household sanitation. For complete sanitation, multiple environmental barriers may be necessary. These barriers occur in a house constructed with easily washable surfaces, a chlorinated water distribution system, house climate control and cleaning product availability.Significance and Impact of the Study: Results of this study can be used to emphasize the importance of increasing household environmental sanitation barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Bacteria
  • Coliforms
  • Fomites
  • Latrines
  • Millennium development goal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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