Focus: Infection Control

Sunshine may kill bacteria in dust

January 30, 2019

The sun’s rays coming through windows can kill some bacteria that live in dust, according to a recent study published in the open access journal Microbiome.

University of Oregon researchers found that in dark rooms an average of 12 percent of bacteria were viable.  But only 6.8 percent of bacteria exposed to daylight and 6.1 percent of bacteria exposed to UV light were viable, according to study data.

Dust kept in the dark contained organisms closely linked to some respiratory diseases. But the same organisms were largely absent in dust exposed to daylight.

The study found that less human skin-derived bacteria and more outdoor air-derived bacteria lived in dust exposed to light than in dust not exposed to light. This could suggest that daylight causes the bacteria in indoor dust to resemble those found outdoors, according to a report on the Infection Control Today website.

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