Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science

Advisor

Angela M. Fraser

Committee Member

Xiuping Jiang

Committee Member

Julia Sharp

Abstract

Human noroviruses (NoV) are a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis, causing nearly 58% of foodborne disease in the USA. The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence of NoV on select bathroom surfaces in food establishments in South Carolina (SC). All SC counties (N=46) were sorted by population density into high-, medium-, and low-density categories. Three counties were randomly selected from each population category. Lists of all foodservice establishments in each selected county (N=9) were obtained from the Department of Health and Environmental Control and a total of 120 foodservice establishments were randomly selected. Swabs were collected from both male and female bathrooms. In each bathroom, four surfaces were swabbed--a toilet seat, the flush handle of the same toilet, the bathroom door handle and a sink faucet handle. In total, 15/681 (2.2%) swabs from 13 (10.8%) establishments were presumptively positive for NoV. The factors significantly related to NoV bathroom presence included gender of the bathroom, mechanism of the toilet, door handle type, sink faucet type, paper towel dispenser material and trash can in the bathroom. We found borderline association of gender of the bathroom and the type of establishment. Our results suggest bathrooms can be a source of NoV in food establishments.

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Food Science Commons

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