Presence of Pathogenic Bacteria and Viruses in the Daycare Environment.

Ibfelt, T.
Engelund, E.H.
Permin, A.
Stenløkke Madsen, J.
Schultz, A.C.
Percival Andersen, L.
Journal of Environmental Health 78(3), 24-29.


The purpose of this study is to determine the presence and prevalence of bacteria and viruses in the daycare environment and to find the most contaminated fomites (such as toys and pillows).


The study shows that coliform bacteria were primarily found in the toilet and kitchen areas, whereas nasopharyngeal bacteria were found mostly on toys and fabric surfaces in the playroom area of the daycare centre. Respiratory viruses were omnipresent in the daycare environment, especially on toys. Thus the study shows that bacteria and viruses, especially respiratory viruses, are present everywhere in the daycare centre. Toys were primarily contaminated with respiratory viruses, whereas faecal bacteria and viruses were found mostly in toilet and kitchen areas. The study indicates that toys are among the most infected objects in the daycare environment, and that infected toys are likely to contribute to indirect transmission of pathogenic organisms.



The study is based on bacteria and virus samples collected in 23 daycare centres (0-6 years) in two Danish municipalities. The number of children per centre varied from 24 to 149, and the total number of children in the study was 1820. Six locations in each daycare centre were sampled for gastrointestinal viruses and three locations for respiratory viruses. Fifteen locations in each of the 23 daycare centres were sampled for bacteria.


Ibfelt, T., Engelund, E.H., Permin, A., Stenløkke Madsen, J., Schultz, A.C. & Percival Andersen, L. (2015). Presence of Pathogenic Bacteria and Viruses in the Daycare Environment. Journal of Environmental Health 78(3), 24-29.

Financed by

This work received funding from the Danish Council for Technology and Innovation under the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education as part of the Sundhed i Børneinstitutioner (health in ECEC centres) innovation consortium.