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Bacterial contamination of different components of the waterpipe

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SETTING: Waterpipe smoking is an emerging topic in tobacco research that may have unrecognised health hazards.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether waterpipes are a source of bacterial contamination.

METHODS: A total of 15 restaurants and waterpipe cafés were randomly selected from the list of locations serving waterpipe tobacco in Kerman city, Iran. Different parts of the waterpipe devices were sampled, including the disposable mouthpiece, the mouthpiece of the hose and the water in the bowl of the waterpipe. The samples were smeared onto bacterial culture media, including eosin methylene blue, blood agar and MacConkey agar growth media, and incubated at 37°C. After 24–48 h, they were examined for colony growth.

RESULTS: Of 285 samples from different parts of the waterpipes, 236 (82.8%) showed positive cultures; the rate of contamination ranged from 69% in the fixed mouthpiece to 96% in bowl water. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (32.9%), Streptococcus spp (26.9%), Neisseria spp (13.7%) and Escherichia coli (9.4%) were the most frequent contaminants.

CONCLUSION: Waterpipes are frequently contaminated with microorganisms. This study revealed potential microbial hazards in waterpipes that may contribute to respiratory tract colonisation.

Keywords: bacterial contamination; hookah; lung infection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Center for Social Determinants of Health, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman, Iran 2: Research Center for Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Kerman, Iran 3: Medical Student Research Committee, Kerman, Iran 4: Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) is for clinical research and epidemiological studies on lung health, including articles on TB, TB-HIV and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, COPD, child lung health and the hazards of tobacco and air pollution. Individuals and institutes can subscribe to the IJTLD online or in print – simply email us at [email protected] for details.

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