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In this study, we used culture and culture-independent methods to determine the …

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- Culture-independent analysis of bacterial diversity in a child-care facility

The diversity of bacteria in the daycare environment appears to be a rich combination of bacterial species associated with both humans and the outside environment (e.g., Bacillus in soils). Given the extremely high bacterial diversity, and the relatively low sequence coverage we achieved in this preliminary study (~54%), the overall diversity is almost certainly higher than we report. Our results suggest that the microbial diversity associated with human environments remains extremely poorly characterized. In terms of public health, we believe greater attention needs to be paid to the microbial contamination of environments (e.g., daycare centers, nursing homes and hospitals) that take care of the most vulnerable members of society. In terms of the child-care facilities per se, our results suggest that diaper changing stations should be moved further away from the play areas, and that more efforts should be focused on removing tough biofilms. Faster and more comprehensive culture-independent methods, such as environmental microarrays and metagenomic approaches, could help better understand the public health risks in these environments.

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