Pathogenic Bacteria And Fungi Found On Masks: Study

Pathogenic Bacteria And Fungi Found On Masks: Study

Authored by Meiling Lee via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Several pathogenic microbes were identified and quantified on masks worn during the pandemic, according to a Japanese study that was published in Scientific Reports.

A man wears surgical mask in Flushing, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, on Feb. 3, 2020. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

The study is one of the first to address the probable hygiene issues caused by bacterial and fungal growth on masks worn daily in the community.

“Since masks can be a direct source of infection to the respiratory tract, digestive tract, and skin, it is crucial to maintain their hygiene to prevent bacterial and fungal infections that can exacerbate COVID-19,” the authors wrote.

The study involved 109 participants aged 21 to 22 years who were asked about the type and duration of mask used and their lifestyle habits. Bacteria and fungi were collected from the three types of masks—gauze, polyurethane, and non-woven—worn between September and October 2020.

The researchers found that the face side of the masks had more bacteria, whereas the outer side of the masks contained more fungi.

In addition, longer use of the mask resulted in an increase in fungi but not in bacteria because “fungi and their spores are resistant to drying, they can survive under the condition where masks dry out.”

Non-woven masks were found to have fewer fungal colony counts on the outer side compared to the other two mask types. Non-woven masks have three layers, two-layer fabric with a non-woven middle layer filter.

Researchers said they were surprised to find that there were no significant differences in the numbers of bacteria or fungi on washable or reusable masks that had been washed.

The proper cleaning method for cotton face masks has been recommended to reduce the microbial load on the masks,” the authors wrote. “However, in the current experiments, we did not find significant differences in bacterial or fungal colony numbers on the masks based on washing.”

Lifestyle Habits

The researchers also examined whether certain lifestyle habits such as gargling, consumption of natto, and use of the different modes of transportation—public transportation, personal vehicle, and walking or biking— had any effect on the microbial counts on the masks.

We found no differences in the bacterial or fungal colony counts on both sides of the masks among the three transportation systems,” the authors wrote.

There were also no differences in microbial counts on masks of participants who gargled once a day. Gargling is a Japanese custom believed to prevent respiratory infections. The practice is often recommended by the Japanese health authority alongside hand washing as a preventative measure against influenza.

A study from Penn State College of Medicine published in the Journal of Medical Virology in September 2020 found that several types of mouthwash and nasal rinses were effective at neutralizing human coronaviruses, suggesting that the products may have the potential to lessen the amount of SARS-CoV-2 load, or the amount of virus inside the mouth. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

A small pilot study is currently being conducted by the University of California, San Francisco on whether gargling with certain mouthwash or gargling solutions will reduce viral load in patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The study is expected to complete this September.

Gargling with antiseptic mouthwashes is part of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance’s protocol for “both chronic (ongoing) prevention as well as to avoid getting sick” after an individual has been exposed to the virus.

FLCCC Alliance is a nonprofit organization consisting of critical care specialists who’ve dedicated their time to developing treatment protocols to “prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and to improve the outcomes for patients ill with the disease.”

As for the consumption of natto, soybeans that are fermented with a bacterium called bacillus subtillis or B. subtilliss, the researchers said that the participants who consumed the sticky soybeans, “had a significantly higher incidence of large white B. subtillis colonies on both sides of the masks than those who did not.”

B. subtillis is a bacterium found in soil, water, decomposing plant residue, and air. It is used for “industrial production of proteases, amylases, antibiotics, and specialty chemicals” and is “not considered pathogenic or toxigenic to humans, animals, or plants,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (pdf).

Graph from Scientific Report listing the size of microbes and particles (left) compared with the pore size (5 µm) of the middle filter of non-woven masks (right). (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Pathogenic Microbes

While most of the bacteria and fungi cultured from the masks were not harmful to humans, some were opportunist pathogens, while others were found to cause diseases like bacteria that cause food poisoning and staph infections, and a fungus that causes ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch.

From their findings, the authors of the study suggest that people with a weakened immune system should “avoid repeated use of masks to prevent microbial infection.”

The CDC says that immunocompromised people or those at high risk for severe disease should wear a mask or respirator when there is a high community level of COVID-19.

The health agency did not respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment on the findings of the Japanese study.

Supporters of universal masking during the pandemic say that masks help to prevent or reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Scientific Evidence

Epidemiologist and researcher Dr. Paul Alexander disagree. He says that there are over 150 studies and articles that conclude cloth and surgical masks are not effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and does more harm.

“To date, the evidence has been stable and clear that masks do not work to control the virus and they can be harmful and especially to children,” Alexander wrote in a February op-ed for The Epoch Times.

In a critical review (pdf) of cloth masks used during the pandemic, the authors stated that evidence does not support community masking with cloth masks to limit the spread of the virus.

The available clinical evidence of facemask efficacy is of low quality and the best available clinical evidence has mostly failed to show efficacy, with fourteen of sixteen identified randomized controlled trials comparing face masks to no mask controls failing to find statistically significant benefit in the intent-to-treat populations,” the authors wrote.

“Although weak evidence should not preclude precautionary actions in the face of unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, ethical principles require that the strength of the evidence and best estimates of amount of benefit be truthfully communicated to the public,” they added.

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Tyler Durden
Tue, 08/02/2022 – 22:05

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New York City Raises Covid Alert Level To “High”, Advises Face Masks

New York City Raises Covid Alert Level To “High”, Advises Face Masks

Here we go again.

With even mentally unstable people who demand to be told by the government on a daily if not hourly basis what to do with their lives having finally moved on from the sheer lunacy that was the dark period of government-mandated lockdowns and covid–linked suspensions, on Tuesday New York City again raised its Covid-19 alert level to high amid increasing pressure on the health care system.

The city upped the warning from medium after signaling yesterday that the change could be imminent. Guidance during a high alert level encourages New Yorkers to wear a face mask in all public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings, although Mayor Eric Adams said Monday that he was not at the point of reinstating a mask requirement, perhaps because countless studies have now shown beyond a reasonable doubt that masks provide zero benefits to containing the spread of covid.

As Bloomberg reports, alert levels take into account cases, hospital admissions and the percentage of inpatient beds that are occupied by Covid-19 patients. Early in May, the city moved to a medium alert from low after surpassing 200 new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period. As of May 13, new cases were at 292. A high alert level is triggered when new hospital admissions over seven days surpass 10 per 100,000 and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by Covid patients is greater than 10%, according to guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New admissions were at 9.8 per 100,000 and increasing as of May 13, while 4.14% of inpatients beds were occupied by Covid patients.

City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said he expects the current wave’s peak won’t last long if residents follow guidance.

We would take the other side of that bet, with midterm elections coming up and with the Democratic establishment desperate to do everything to maintain the status quo, that means lots and lots of mail in ballots coming up, and only another “spike” – real or imaginary – in covid cases will be required.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 05/17/2022 – 11:49

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