Your bathroom sink could be making you sick. A fungus has been found present in bathroom sink drains, which may be a common source of infection in humans, according to a new study.
Fusarium (fungus disease) was the cause of an outbreak of fungal keratitis (infection of the cornea) among contact lens wearers in the United States in 2005-2006. Fusarium can be difficult to treat as it is resistant to many medicines.
The test samples taken from nearly 500 sink drains in 131 businesses, homes, university dormitories and public facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and California were used to test for this fungus disease.
At least one Fusarium isolate was found in 66% of the drains and in 82% of the buildings. Approximately 70% of those isolates were from species most frequently associated with human infections.
“This research strongly supports the hypothesis that plumbing-surface biofilms serve as reservoirs for human pathogenic fusaria” reported the lead investigator on the research.
Fusarium infections usually occur in the nails and in the cornea of your eyes. It can be painful and cause blurry vision, a yellow discharge from the eye, watery eyes, sensitivity to light and red eye. In the nails it starts with a white spot at the tip of the nail and then they turn hard and yellow with ragged edges. Anyone with a compromised immune system may develop a severe infection penetrating the entire body and bloodstream.
Some tips to avoid Fusarium in the nails from Hubpages:
- Wear shoes with adequate toe room.
- Keep your hands and feet clean.
- Thoroughly dry your feet and hands after washing do not let them stay wet or damp.
- Keep your toenails short and cut them straight across.
- Wear rubber shoes when bathing in public showers.
- Don’t wear the same shoes everyday, and allow the inside of the shoes to dry before wearing them again.
- Always make sure your socks or hose are clean and dry.
- Use talcum powder in your shoes.
- Wear synthetic socks.
- Avoid tight socks and hose.
- Take you own tools to salons for manicures and pedicures.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching an infected nail.
- If you suspect a fusarium infection or other fungal infection of the nails, see you podiatrist.
Fusarium was also once used as biological warfare in the 1930s and 1940s in the Soviet Union. It can come from foods like tomatoes, lettuce and in baking. Symptoms would include abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, chills, sepsis and bleeding into the skin. 60% of those infected in the 1930s and 1940’s died from it.
You can read more about the latest research on Fusarium at the Journal of Clinical Microbiology – December edition.