Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

The Bacteriology of Normal Skin; A New Quantitative Test Applied to a Study of the Bacterial Flora and the Disinfectant Action of Mechanical Cleansing

Philip B. Price
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Vol. 63, No. 3 (Nov. - Dec., 1938), pp. 301-318
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30088420
Page Count: 18
  • Download ($42.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
The Bacteriology of Normal Skin; A New Quantitative Test Applied to a Study of the Bacterial Flora and the Disinfectant Action of Mechanical Cleansing
Preview not available

Abstract

Skin bacteria are of two sorts, "transients" and "residents." Transients, acquired mainly by contact, vary greatly in both number and kind. They may be abundant on exposed skin, under nails, etc., but are relatively scarce on clean, unexposed skin. Resident bacteria form a comparatively stable flora. Forces increasing (chiefly multiplication in situ) and decreasing their number tend to reach an equilibrium. Protected skin has as a rule a somewhat larger resident flora than exposed skin. After reduction (e.g., by disinfection), reestablishment of the resident flora appears to proceed at a rate represented in general by a sigmoid curve, as is true of bacterial growths in cultures. Hands and arms thoroughly degermed may require a week or more for complete reestablishment of the usual flora. Beneath clothing the generation time is slightly shorter. Under sterile rubber gloves it is much shorter, the existing flora increasing rapidly until it may exceed by far the ordinary flora. Transients lie free on the surface or are loosely attached along with the dirt by fats; hence they are removed or killed with comparative ease. Resident bacteria are more firmly attached, and are far more resistant to attack by either detergents or germicides. The transient flora may contain any number of pathogenic bacteria, the resident flora relatively few as a rule. Certain contaminating organisms, however, seem able slowly to change status and become permanent residents of the skin. Consequently, prolonged or frequent exposure of the skin to contaminations may result in a resident flora containing many pathogenic germs. Such skin is not easily disinfected. Hands may thus become chronic carriers of virulent organisms. Scrubbing with brush, soap, and water removes the transient flora readily, but the resident flora far more slowly. Scrubbing (in the manner described) degerms the hands and arms at a regular, logarithmic rate that is constant, irrespective of the size of the original flora. This rate of reduction, roughly, is by one-half each 6 minutes of scrubbing. The largest variable affecting this rate is the amount of vigor used in brushing; the sort of soap used, and the sterility and temperature of water washed in, are less important factors.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[301]
    [301]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
302
    302
  • Thumbnail: Page 
303
    303
  • Thumbnail: Page 
304
    304
  • Thumbnail: Page 
305
    305
  • Thumbnail: Page 
306
    306
  • Thumbnail: Page 
307
    307
  • Thumbnail: Page 
308
    308
  • Thumbnail: Page 
309
    309
  • Thumbnail: Page 
310
    310
  • Thumbnail: Page 
311
    311
  • Thumbnail: Page 
312
    312
  • Thumbnail: Page 
313
    313
  • Thumbnail: Page 
314
    314
  • Thumbnail: Page 
315
    315
  • Thumbnail: Page 
316
    316
  • Thumbnail: Page 
317
    317
  • Thumbnail: Page 
318
    318