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Product Code: 00007122

No of Pages: 39

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This study investigated the bacteria species associated with hand of primary school pupils in Umuahia metropolis. The associated bacterial species were isolated by inoculating onto MacConkey agar and Nutrient agar using spread plate method of inoculation. The highest bacterial load was recorded against three (3) MOUAU and one St. Stephen pupils with a bacterial load of 6.1x103. This was followed by school Road pupil with a value of 5.9x103. The least bacterial load was recorded against pupil from World Bank housing estate (4.3x104). The identification test reveals the estate to belong to the genera Bacillus spp, E. coli, Salmonella spp and Staphlococcus spp. Of these isolates, S. aureus and E. coli the highest frequency of occurrence (33% respectively) followed by Salmonella spp (25%) while the least was recorded against Bacillus. Proper hand washing practice is encouraged for a healthy lifestyle.


Title Page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                                iv

Table of Contents                                                                                                                   v

Lists of Tables                                                                                                                         vii

Abstract                                                                                                                                  viii



1.0       Introduction                                                                                                                1

1.1       Aim and Objectives                                                                                                    2

1.2       Objectives                                                                                                                   3



2.0       Literature Review                                                                                                       4

2.1       Hands as a Means of Disease Transmission                                                                4

2.2       Microorganisms Present on Human Skin.                                                                   9

2.3       Micro-Organisms Capable of Surviving on Hands                                                     10

2.4       Health Hazards Associated with Contaminated Hands                                             11



3.0       Materials and Methods                                                                                               13

3.1       Study Location                                                                                                           13

3.2       Sample Collection                                                                                                       13

3.3       Media Used and It’s Preparation                                                                                13

3.4       Sterilization                                                                                                                 14

3.5       Culture Techniques                                                                                                     14

3.6       Identification of Isolates                                                                                            14

3.6.1    Gram staining technique (Procedure)                                                                         14

3.6.2    Biochemical test                                                                                                          15

3.6.3 Catalase test                                                                                                                   15

3.6.4 Coagulase test                                                                                                                15

3.6.5 Citrate test                                                                                                                     15

3.6.6 Motility, indole, urease test (MIU).                                                                               16

3.6.7 Triple sugar iron test                                                                                                      16

3.6.8    Oxidase test                                                                                                                17

3.6.9    Total viable count                                                                                                       17



4.0       RESULT                                                                                                                     18



5.0       Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation                                                           23

5.1       Discussion                                                                                                                   23

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                                  24

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                                      24

Reference                                                                                                                    25









Table                                      Title                                                                                        Page

1:        Total viable count of Bacteria from the different four schools.                                  19


2:          Morphology and Biochemical characteristics of the probable organisms                  20


3:         Microorganism Isolated From the Four Schools                                                         21


4:         Percentage Occurrence of Bacterial Isolates from Primary School Pupils                 22














The hands are the chief organs for physical manipulation of the environment. As a paired organ, the hand is controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere and enables one to all manner of things (Maria et al., 2004).

The hand serves as a medium for the propagation of microorganism from place to place and from one person to another. Although it is nearly impossible for the hand to be free of microorganisms, the presence of pathogenic bacteria may lead to chronic or acute illness.  Human hands usually harbour microorganisms both as part of body normal flora as well as transient microbes contacted from the environment. The natural habitat of microorganisms like Staphylococcus is in the human skin and can therefore be passed from one person to another (Dodril et al., 2011).

One common way by which organisms that are not resident in the hands are picked up is by contact with surfaces such as table tops, doorknobs or handles, banisters, toilet handles and taps in restrooms. Microbes carried on the human skin are of two types i.e. resident and transient (Cobb et al., 2011).

 In addition to these are the infections with species such as Staphylococcus aureus or beta-haemolytic Streptococci, which are frequently isolated from abscesses, whitlows, paronychia or infected eczema. The dominant resident microbes are Staphylococcus epidermis which is found on almost every hand. It has been estimated that the population of Staphylococcus epidermis far outnumbers Staphylococcus aureus on healthy hands. Others are numbers of Corynebacteria and Micrococci spp and certain members of Enterobacteriaceae family (Garner et al., 1996).

Pathogens that may be present on the hand as transient types includes Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Clostridium perfringes, Giardia lamblia, Norwalk virus and Hepatitis A virus. Since human hands usually habour microorganisms both as residents and transient, it is conceivable that transfer of pathogens could occur between people who access the same area or surfaces. That chance that other persons will acquire these organisms is dependent on how long the organism can survive in the environment. For example, Listeria species can survive for a while on the hand of the environment (Snelling et al., 1991).

Disinfection of surfaces is also necessary to prevent infections from transient microbes especially surfaces that the hand comes in contact with mostly and frequently. Studies have shown that although these surfaces cannot be totally free from microorganisms, they can be minimized and with precautions several cases of infection can be prevented. Bacteria pathogens that could be isolated from the hand includes Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus mirabilis, Citrobacter freundii, Enterobacter spp., Streptococcus spp., Klebsiella spp., Micrococcus spp. and Salmonella typhi (Aiello et al., 2010).

Appropriate hand washing can minimize microbes acquired on the hand by contact with contaminated surfaces. Hand washing is the simplest and most cost effective way of preventing the transmission of infection and thus reducing the incidence of health care associated infections (Lowbury et al., 2009).


The aim of this research is to carryout comparative studies on the bacteria associated with hands of school pupils’ in Umuahia Abia State.


1.2       OBJECTIVES

                    i.            To determine the bacterial load on the hands of primary school pupils.

                  ii.            To isolate and identify bacteria present on the hands of primary school pupils.

                iii.            To ascertain the percentage occurrence of the bacterial isolates.



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