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The “hardest hit” of bacteria in the home

Dishwashing sponges are 200,000 times dirtier than toilet seats!

  Dishwashing sponges are dirtier than toilet seat cushions, which is not an alarmist. A 2012 study showed that a dishwashing sponge is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat! In another 2017 study, scientists found that the average number of bacteria per square centimeter in dishwashing sponges was 54 billion! Scientists once examined 14 dishwashing sponges from different kitchens and found 362 kinds of bacteria from the Chinese Communist Party!
  Why Are Dishwashing Sponges So Popular With Bacteria? This is because there are not only food residues in the dishwashing sponge, but the porous structure of the sponge also creates a livable environment for the bacteria – the size of the pores of the dishwashing sponge can meet the harsh requirements for different types of bacteria to co-exist.

A variety of bacteria can find their own satisfaction in the dishwashing sponge

  According to symbiotic habits, bacteria can be roughly divided into two types of living patterns: one type likes to live with the same type of bacteria; the other type likes to live with other bacteria. Dishwashing sponges can meet the requirements of both bacteria. In a new study in 2022, scientists freely combined different types of bacteria and placed them in three types of holes: large, medium and small. The results show that the bacterial diversity in the large and small pores is not high, but the bacterial diversity in the medium-sized pores is high, and various bacteria can get along well with each other. The hole diameter of the kitchen sponge is just medium-sized. Whether it is bacteria that likes to live with the same kind or bacteria that likes to live with other bacteria, you can find your own satisfactory site in the dishwasher sponge!
  Despite the staggering amount of bacteria in a dish sponge, no one has ever heard of anyone getting seriously ill from a dirty dish sponge. That’s because not all bacteria make people sick, and our immune systems aren’t “vegetarian.” In addition, there are many ways to make a dishwashing sponge less dirty, such as: you can wring it out thoroughly and place it in a ventilated place after each use, or change it frequently.
Dangerous elements hiding around us

  Bacteria were discovered by humans, thanks to the Dutch businessman Leeuwenhoek. When Leeuwenhoek was an apprentice in a grocery store in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, when he heard that a convex lens made of good quality glass could magnify many small objects around him, he devoted himself to the grinding lens. . His hard work paid off. He made a prototype of a microscope and observed the bacteria collected from his mouth for the first time.
  Today, with the deepening of scientists’ understanding of bacteria, human beings have gradually mastered the mechanism of bacterial distribution, transmission and pathogenesis. Many people may not know that there are many dangerous bacteria lurking in the home.
Salmonella fecal-oral transmission

  In 2013, the British city of Newcastle hosted the “Street Spicy Festival”, an unprecedented food festival that attracted countless locals and tourists. What the organizers did not expect was that 413 diners vomited and vomited after tasting the food. Don’t worry, it’s food poisoning. The investigation found that the culprit was salmonella. It turned out that the fresh olive leaves at the Spicy Festival were not thoroughly cleaned, which allowed salmonella to take advantage, causing the incident of food poisoning for hundreds of people.

If meat, eggs, and milk are not completely eliminated, Salmonella in animal feces may be left behind, thereby causing human infection

  The most direct route of transmission of Salmonella is fecal-oral, where food contaminated with animal feces ends up in people’s mouths. If meat, eggs, milk and their products are not thoroughly sterilized, Salmonella may be left in animal feces, thereby infecting humans. People infected with Salmonella may have symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and fever in mild cases, and severe cases of sepsis.
  Salmonella’s attack method is distinctive – they deliver an “effector protein” into our intestinal epithelial cells. Of course, the human epithelial cells do not sit still, but engulf invading bacteria. Human epithelial cells contain small vesicles called lysosomes that, once fused with the ingested bacterial vacuole, can quickly digest the contents of the bacterial vacuole. However, Salmonella is very cunning. It injects a second protein into the vacuole, which prevents the fusion of lysosomes, so that epithelial cells can’t do anything about it. In real life, eating raw eggs is one of the main causes of Salmonella infection.
Listeria is not afraid of low temperature

  In 2011, there was a foodborne illness outbreak in the United States that killed many people. The investigation found that the “murderer” was actually a cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria. It turned out that a leak in a condensing pipe at the melon packing plant caused water to accumulate on the floor, causing Listeria to grow and contaminate the equipment. Then, the problem of incomplete cleaning of cantaloupe occurred, and Listeria took advantage of the situation and multiplied in the cantaloupe.
  The low temperature environment of the refrigerator can inhibit the reproduction of most bacteria and other microorganisms, but it can’t help Listeria, which can grow slowly in the refrigeration area of ​​the refrigerator. Listeria is widespread in the environment and can be found in meat, seafood, dairy products, vegetables and fruits.
  Listeria bacteria are also frequently found in dishwashing sponges, such as the highly pathogenic Listeria monocytogenes. Once a person is infected with Listeria monocytogenes, symptoms such as fever, nausea, and diarrhea may occur in mild cases, and symptoms such as headache, neck stiffness, and cramps may occur in severe cases. The bacterium produces a molecule called “invasin,” which helps the bacterium invade cells, including macrophages that invade the immune system and lining cells in the gut. But for a healthy immune system, immune cells have already “shattered” Listeria before they can wreak havoc. However, if the body’s immune system is in a bad state, the immune cells are likely to be unable to deal with this “killer”, and people will get sick.
Campylobacter Keep your mouth shut when bird watching

  In 2020, a collective food poisoning incident occurred in an elementary school in Tokyo, Japan. More than 100 students and staff developed symptoms such as fever and diarrhea after eating the lunch provided by the school. After investigation, the culprit was Campylobacter in chicken school lunches.
  Eating raw or undercooked poultry is the most common cause of Campylobacter infection. An extremely rare but very serious complication of Campylobacter infection occurs. Campylobacter is not heat-resistant and can therefore be inactivated by pasteurization (sterilization at high temperatures for a short period of time). To prevent Campylobacter infection, avoid consuming undercooked or insufficiently sterilized foods.

  Interestingly, Campylobacter jejuni (the same genus Campylobacter) was also detected in the guano of about one-third of wild European starlings. So keep your mouth shut if you ever get a chance to watch a spectacular flock of starlings in the wild. Because if they happen to be hovering over your head, a rain of guano carrying Campylobacter jejuni is impossible to avoid.
E. coli good and bad

  After seeing the common pathogenic bacteria in the kitchen, let’s take a look at another place where bacteria reside – the bathroom.
  The dry matter of human feces contains lipids, inorganic matter, undigested dietary fiber, a part of exfoliated intestinal wall cells, and a large amount of bacterial remains (up to 60% of the total mass of fecal dry matter). As the feces are washed away, the impact of the water stream creates thousands of tiny water droplets that are suspended in the air to form aerosols. Bacteria in feces can attach to aerosol particles, which can then stick to various surfaces around the toilet. Once people touch these items, they may be exposed to bacteria in the feces. This will be another big migration of bacteria from feces to the mouth.
  Some people may wonder, if this is the case, wouldn’t the toothbrush also get fecal bacteria? That’s true, but you don’t need to worry too much, because being infected with fecal bacteria doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get sick.
  The most abundant bacteria in the human gut is Escherichia coli. More than 100 strains of Escherichia coli have been identified, and many of them vary greatly. In humans, E. coli bacteria can make people sick when they are in places where they shouldn’t be. About 90% of urinary tract infections and a significant proportion of gastroenteritis and food poisoning are caused by E. coli in the wrong place. However, not all E. coli bacteria cause disease. In most cases, E. coli will not cause harm to the body, but can inhibit the reproduction of intestinal pathogens and other pathogens, and at the same time help to synthesize vitamin K2, which is a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship with the human body.
Shigella toxin is ferocious

  One strain of E. coli that is particularly ferocious is the strain called O157:H7.
  Shigella produces Shiga toxin; Escherichia coli O157:H7 produces a toxin very similar to Shiga toxin, so this toxin is called “Shiga-like toxin”. The Shiga-like toxin molecule is integrated by six subunits, of which the pathogenic subunit accounts for nearly half of the entire molecular weight, and the other five much smaller subunits form a “frontline squad”. The “frontline squad” of Shiga-like toxins starts with cells in the walls of capillaries in the gut, where they bind to the outer membranes of those cells, causing changes in the membranes that allow the toxin to be ingested into the cells. After the toxin enters the cell, the pathogenic subunit shuts down the protein production line in the cell, killing the cell.
  Strangely, the toxin of O157:H7 came from another bacterium, Shigella. What does E. coli use to “steal” deadly weapons from other bacteria? The answer is bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are viruses that prey on bacteria, exchanging genetic material with them as they infect them. Bacteriophages spread among different bacteria, and thus spread the genetic material of different bacteria.
  In 2011, an outbreak caused by Escherichia coli broke out in Germany, which eventually infected more than 4,000 people in Europe and killed nearly 50 people. It was later found that the culprit was bean sprouts infected with Escherichia coli O104:H4. Escherichia coli O104:H4 is a strain of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, and the main pathogenic toxin of hemorrhagic Escherichia coli is Shiga-like toxin. Most enterohemorrhagic enteritis is caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7, while this outbreak is caused by the rarer Escherichia coli O104:H4.
Can Disinfectants Kill Germs?

  Diarrhea from a toxic E. coli or salmonella infection can be a huge pain in the bathroom because the bacteria in the feces can sometimes linger in the environment for a long time. A study of the home environment after one person had contracted salmonellosis found that 4 out of 6 households could still find salmonella under the rim of the toilet that had been cleaned with disinfectant, and 2 households found it at the bottom of the sewer. Salmonella-containing biofilms persisted in one household even 4 weeks after the contamination.
  Is it that the disinfectant on the market that claims to have a sterilization rate of 99.9% has no effect at all? In fact, many disinfectants are highly effective at killing bacteria. However, for such a complex object as a toilet, it is inevitable that there will be places where cleaning is not in place; in addition, if the concentration and time of use of disinfectants are not enough, the disinfection effect will be greatly reduced.
  Bleach is the most commonly used disinfectant for toilets and toilets on the market. The main ingredient in common household bleach is chlorine-containing compounds, which work by attacking molecules on the outside of the bacterial cell membrane, causing the cell to die. But some bacteria can form endospores (essentially smaller, simpler and tougher bacterial cells) that can withstand an onslaught of detergents or even alcohol, and killing them is no mean feat. However, these types of bacteria cannot withstand bleach, but make sure to keep them in contact with them for extended periods of time with a highly concentrated solution.
  Bacterial biofilms also help bacteria resist disinfectants. Secretions within biofilms not only hold cells together but also provide physical and chemical protection. However, in most cases, the concentration of bleach is high enough and long enough to break through this barrier.
  Mycobacteria (such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae) have to be mentioned, which have waxy cell walls and are therefore resistant to the onslaught of many disinfectants. But it’s not impossible to take it, the traditional bleach still works, but you still need to pay attention to the concentration and time. Recent research has found that acetic acid is just as effective and much easier to use than bleach. In short, as long as the disinfectant is used properly, tough bacteria can be killed.
“Gut” healthy, can always be healthy

  Our intestines are actually very fragile, and problems can occur if we are not careful. Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are known as the three major intestinal problems. The latter two are also known as inflammatory bowel disease. The clinical manifestations are diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even pus and blood in the stool. Scientists believe that a Western-style diet is associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease was once considered a “Western disease”. However, in recent years, the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease has shown a clear upward trend in my country and Asia.
  It can be seen that in order to be healthy, we also need to think from the “gut”. Intestinal health, can always be healthy!

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